Sheik Ismail Aal Radhwan is a Gaza-based, Hamas-affiliated preacher, senior legislator, and organizational spokesman. Endorsing a violent jihad to drive the Jews permanently out of Israel, and to exterminate those Jews who refuse to leave, Radhwan said the following in a 2007 sermon which he delivered on Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa TV, where he serves as a board member:
“We must remind our Arab and Muslim nation … that Palestine and the Al Aqsa mosque will not be liberated through summits nor by international resolutions, but it will be liberated through the rifle. It will not be liberated through negotiations, but through the rifle, since this [Israeli] occupation knows no language but the language of force…. O Allah, strengthen Islam and Muslims, and bring victory to your Jihad-fighting worshipers, in Palestine and everywhere…. Allah, take the oppressor Jews and Americans and their supporters!”
In early September 2010, Radhwan delivered a sermon lauding the recent actions of armed gunmen from the Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, who, in what they termed “a heroic operation,” had opened fire on a car filled with Jewish settlers near the Israeli city of Hebron, killing all four people aboard, one of whom was a pregnant woman. Radhwan’s sermon—broadcast live on Al-Aqsa TV—began as follows:
“We are here today to salute the mujahideen who rocked the very pillars of the occupation, and retaliated for the crimes of the occupation … Yes, we salute the mujahideen, who killed the Zionists, who killed the settlers.”
Impugning certain Palestinian leaders who had publicly expressed their disapproval of these killings, Radhwan said: “The path to the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine is through the gun, through Jihad, and through resistance. We say today that we adhere to the option of Jihad and resistance … the path decreed by Allah.”
According to Radhwan, “those who negotiate, those who hasten to normalize [relations with Israel], and those who waive [the Palestinian rights]” are “evil people” who have “abandoned the cause of the Islamic nation and of Palestine” and who thus are destined to suffer eternally in “Hellfire” along with “the Jews, the Zionists, whom Allah transformed into apes and pigs.” By contrast, says Radhwan, Allah reserves his strongest approval for “the mujahid, the martyrdom seeker, the one who wages resistance.” Asserting that such resistance can legitimately take the form of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism, Radhwan maintains that “all aspects of resistance are … permissible and open to us.”
This profile is adapted, in part, from “Voices of Palestine: Sheik Ismail Aal Radhwan,” by Frank Crimi (December 2, 2011).