Hamas criticises Ilhan Omar for comparing it to Israel
Hamas spokesman Basem Naim said that Omar's comments - which attracted criticism in the US for comparing US foreign policy to the Taliban - were "very peculiar", in a statement published on the group's website on Saturday,
"She equated between the victim and the executioner when she treated the resistance of the Palestinian people, the Israeli crimes in Palestine, and the US aggression in Afghanistan as an equal footing,” Naim said.
Last month, Israel launched a deadly 11-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, killing at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injuring thousands more.
Twelve people in Israel, including a child, were killed by Hamas and other militant groups rocket fire with hundreds injured.
The conflict began after Hamas launched rockets at Israel in response to an attack by Israeli security forces on Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which injured hundreds of people.
"Hamas highly appreciates Omar's stances in support of justice and the rights of the oppressed around the world, foremost among them is the just rights of the Palestinian people. However, it is unacceptable to make such an unfair comparison, which contradicts with basic norms of justice and international law," Naim's statement added.
Last Monday Omar tweeted: "We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban."
The tweet was condemned by a group of twelve congresspeople from Omar’s own Democratic Party who wrote, "equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided".
Omar was also reprimanded by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The tweet sparked a war of words between Omar and the representatives who criticised her.
"Drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the US and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all," a statement from Pelosi’s office said.
The Hamas statement made it clear that the group was as offended at being compared to the US and Israel as the American lawmakers had been by the tweet.
"The Palestinian people have been living under the Israeli occupation for more than seven decades, during which they have experienced unbearable suffering… we hope that US Rep. Ilhan Omar and all defenders of Palestinian rights make efforts to provide a proper and accurate description of the situation as this is the starting point to lay the foundations for a fair solution for this prolonged state of injustice and denial of the Palestinian people's rights," Naim added.