Voices of Palestine: Yunis Al-Astal

Yunis Al-Astal, born in 1956 in the Gaza city of Khan Yunis, began his career preaching the glorification of exterminating Jews as an imam in the Palestinian Islamic terror group Hamas.

While Al-Astal’s incendiary rants were delivered in the mosques of Gaza, they were vile enough to gain him international notoriety, leading to his being banned in 2006 from entering the United Kingdom for “seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence.”

When Hamas gained control of Gaza in the elections of 2006, Al-Astal made the transition from preacher of hate to political firebrand as an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

During his time as a Hamas legislator, Al-Astal was part of the 2009 effort by Hamas to prevent the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) from including curriculum on the Holocaust in the preparatory schools it runs in Gaza.

According to Al-Astal, teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi genocide of Jews would be “marketing a lie” and the introduction of the subject tantamount to a “war crime.”

It should be noted, however, that Al-Astal’s disbelief in the historical veracity of the Holocaust didn’t mean he wasn’t a proponent of the necessity and inevitably of such an event. In a 2008 newspaper column he wrote: “Suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next. Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.”...

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