The Murderous Qawasameh Tribe
The Qawasameh family, which includes suspected kidnapper Marwan Qawasameh, has a long tradition of terror:
Notable Qawasameh Hamas members:
Mahmud Amaran Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Haifa bus 37, dead)
Hazem Qawasameh (committed shooting attack in Kiryat Arba, dead)
Fuad Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Gross square in Hebron, dead)
Hamza Qawasameh (killed Netanel Uzari, dead)
Muhasan Qawasameh (committed attack on Negohot settlement, dead)
Raad Misk Qawasameh (suicide bomber of Jerusalem bus 2 massacre, dead)
Abbedallah Qawasameh (leader, dead)
Bassal Qawasameh (leader, dead)
Ahmed Abed Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Beersheba, dead)
Imad Qawasameh (leader, arrested October 13, 2004)
The Hamas in Hebron is led by a family from the Qawasameh tribe. Two of its prominent leaders, Abbedalla Qawasameh and Bassal Qawasameh were suspected of/involved in many terrorist attacks, including the Jerusalem bus 14A massacre and Jerusalem bus 2 massacre, which claimed the lives of 40 Israelis. They were later killed by Yamam and IDF forces.
Related coverageJune 30, 2016 3:51 pm
Shlomi Eldar writes a well-researched article in Al Monitor where he argues that the Qawasameh clan has a long tradition of ignoring Hamas leadership attempts at ceasefires with Israel, calling them a “rogue Hamas branch:”
Though the clan is known for identifying with Hamas, it also has a well-earned reputation as troublemakers. Not only does it tend to ignore the movement’s leaders. It even acts counter to the policies being advocated by the movement.
That is why officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) were shocked by the timing of the three boys’ abduction, just two weeks after the establishment of a Palestinian unity government. After all, the very creation of this new coalition came with the assumption that the Hamas leadership had come to terms with reality and moderated their positions.
Enter the Qawasmeh clan. The total number of people belonging to the clan is estimated at about 10,000, making it one of the three largest clans in the Mount Hebron region. At least 15 members of the family were killed during the second intifada, nine of them while committing suicide attacks against Israel. All of the terrorists lived in the Abu Qatila neighborhood, within a radius of less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) from one another. Whenever the head of the terrorist organization within the clan was assassinated or arrested by Israel, one of his brothers or cousins was selected to replace him.
Marwan Qawasmeh, the man behind the abduction, emerged as a dominant figure in the clan after Israel arrested Imad Qawasmeh and sentenced him to life in prison.
Each time Hamas had reached an understanding with Israel about a cease-fire or tahadiyeh (period of calm), at least one member of the family has been responsible for planning or initiating a suicide attack, and any understandings with Israel, achieved after considerable effort, were suddenly laid waste. If there is a single family throughout the PA territories whose actions can be blamed for Israel’s assassination of the political leadership of Hamas, it is the Qawasmeh family of Hebron.
On Aug. 19, 2003, after a tahadiyeh was reached between Israel and all of the Palestinian factions, with the support of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, two suicide bombers blew themselves up on the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem. Some 23 Israelis were killed in the attack, including seven children. All of the passengers on the bus were on their way back from prayers at the Western Wall to mark the end of the Sabbath. Most of them were yeshiva students. The attack put an abrupt end to the tahadiyeh just 52 days after it was announced. The bombing was intended to avenge Israel’s assassination of Abdullah Qawasmeh three days before the tahadiyeh came into force. The Qawasmeh family planned and implemented the attack during a cease-fire, which was supposed to have ended the second intifada, a cease-fire that had the support of Yasser Arafat, then-PA chairman, his Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and, of course, Yassin, the leader of Hamas.
But Hamas refuses to distance itself from the clan.
Indeed, Hamas tries to have it both ways. They might claim (privately) that the Qawasamehs are not part of the movement, but they are quick to take credit for actions by the family.
The Al Qassam website mentioned the Qawasamehs hundreds of times (before a recent revamping of the site. ) Here, for example, is a loving Hamas tribute to the family and to their track record of terror attacks.
Hamas cannot take gleeful credit for the many atrocities performed by the Qawasamehs and then claim ignorance when there are going to be consequences for their actions. If Hamas really wants a ceasefire, they need to denounce the clan. Otherwise, their distancing themselves now after celebrating and taking credit for the family’s many terror attacks over 20 years rings more than hollow.