• Hamas, Iran: Synagogue Murders ‘Just The Normal Reaction’

    Reactions to the Jerusalem synagogue attacks continue to pour in, including excuses and praise for the Palestinian perpetrators’ acts of violence.

    Iran’s Tasnim state news agency quoted Hossein Amir Abdollahian, that country’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, as saying that the attack represents “the reaction of the Palestinian people to the Zionist regime’s daily aggression.” (RELATED: Iran’s Supreme Leader Tweets Attacks On US, Israel)

    From within the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas’ spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed that the attacks, termed “the Jerusalem operation” in the Arab press, are “just the normal reaction to Israel’s terror campaigns.” In another statement quoted by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, Hamas celebrated the attack as “the bloodiest in years in the Holy City.”

    In Hamas-controlled Gaza, masked men were photographed distributing candy to crowds celebrating in the streets, as the International Business Times reported. The Israel Defense Forces were quick to publicize this jarring image on Twitter.

    Other statements celebrating the attack came from the group Islamic Jihad, which echoed Hamas in calling it “a natural response to the crimes of occupation,” and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The groups responded vigorously despite the lack of evidence, as reported by the Washington Post, that the attackers were members of an existing terrorist organization.

    Support also came for the synagogue attackers from elsewhere in the Arab world. The Palestinian Shehab News Agency highlighted two young girls in a Facebook post Tuesday, both wearing headbands with the slogan “Hamas is my Revolution” and carrying posters that read “We bless the Jerusalem operation from Jordan: #TrampleAttackDestroyUntilAlAqsaIsFree.” The hashtag refers to the mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to which Israeli authorities recently limited access claiming security concerns. Before it was deleted on Thursday, the post had over 5,000 likes, signaling significant support for armed resistance among Jordan’s significant Palestinian population.

    By contrast, in a joint meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah vowed as traditional custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites to help pacify tensions there, and in the light of the attacks Al-Jazeera quoted Jordanian government spokesman Muhammad al-Momani as he reiterated that Jordan opposes “all acts of violence and terrorism that target civilians, regardless of their sources or motives.”

    But even U.S. ally Jordan’s official reaction was divided at the highest level. Members of Jordan’s House of Representatives prayed the Islamic Fatiha prayer for the souls of the “heroic martyrs” who perpetrated the attack on Wednesday during a session of Parliament. Echoing Hamas’ statement, Jordanian parliamentarian Khalil Atiya stated that the attack was “a natural response to the crimes of the Zionist occupation against our brethren in Palestine.”

    Among Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas was apparently alone in condemning the attack, saying that he denounced “all acts of violence regardless of their source.” But according to Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinetz, Abbas was key to inciting the outburst in the first place. CNN quotes Steinetz as explaining that “the Palestinian President is calling Palestinian Muslims to defend the al-Aqsa mosque by all means, this would lead to riots and bloodshed and terrorist attacks.”

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