“Not a single Gazan that I spoke to was not against Hamas,” said Zahran, who came to the “West Bank” to cover the conflict in and around the Gaza Strip.
“Come on, do you guys think we are animals? That we would love seeing Hamas terrorists hiding among our crowds just to have Israeli F–16’s bomb us so we can get the sympathy?” he asked in an interview with JerusalemOnline. “Please understand, yes, Gaza elected Hamas, but people make mistakes. Didn’t the Germans elect Hitler? Were the Germans still in favor of Hitler when Russia and the Allies were marching into Berlin and bombing the hell out of it?”
Of course, that doesn’t mean most of the population in Gaza is ready to ally with Israel or even return to Israeli rule.
“We have to be clear; Palestinians hate Israel,” Zahran reminded his Israeli readers. “This might change in thirty years or so, but they hate Israel. So Gazans hate Israel, but for sure and I can authoritatively say this, they hate Hamas even more now.”
Several days later, Zahran appeared on i24 News to debate Dimitri Diliani, a member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Revolutionary Council, who tried to frame the Gaza war as a bloodthirsty Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people as a whole.
While Diliani painted himself as no friend of jihadists in Gaza, he was adamant that “when it comes to Israel and the crimes that it is committing, I will stand on the side of Hamas any given day.”
Zahran was having none of it.
“Is Israel an angel? As a Palestinian, do I think that Israel is innocent? No. But, I know that in this war, Hamas was provoking Israel, Hamas wanted the war,” insisted Zahran. “I am in touch with people in Gaza constantly, and those people have had enough of Hamas.”
Zahran went on to explain that in the Gaza war, Hamas’ strings were being pulled in service to other regional powers with a score to settle with one another.
“We are fighting other people’s wars. Qatar, the king of Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and Syria - they wanted to teach Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel a lesson,” he said.
And for Hamas to play along demonstrates that, in Zahran’s words, it is “a traitor to my people.”
As for Israel? Zahran appeared to be fairly clear-headed on that score.
“You know what is the only country around that treats us as human beings?” he asked. “Ironically, it’s Israel. Israel does very stupid things in Gaza. They even commit crimes in Gaza. On the other hand, Israel is the only sane partner with whom we can sit with and say, ‘Let’s make peace.’ They are the only partner that actually labels a Palestinian, even a terrorist, as a human.”