UK’s Observer adds “kill Jews” to Hamas leader Khaled Meshal’s Gaza speech when he did not say it

In its report on Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s speech in Gaza on Saturday, The Observer, the Sunday sister paper of The Guardian, quoted Meshaal saying the following words:

We don’t kill Jews because they are Jews. We kill the Zionists because they are conquerors and we will continue to kill anyone who takes our land and our holy places … We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone.

This however is a blatant mistranslation. What Meshaal actually said is:

We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews. We fight the Zionist occupiers and aggressors. And we will fight anyone who tries to occupy our lands or attacks us. We fight those who fight us, who attack us, who besiege us, who attack our holy places and our land.

Can you see the massive difference? To an untrained ear the Arabic verbs for “kill” and “fight” could sound the same because قتل – to kill – and قاتل – to fight or combat – come from the same root. But to any fluent Arabic speaker there is no ambiguity at all in what Meshaal said as the clip below shows.

Resistance “a means not an end”

The Observer painted Meshaal’s speech as “uncompromising” and most other media called it “fiery.” I even heard someone on the BBC World Service say it was little changed from Hamas’ founding charter.

I have not seen any reports pointing out this passage in Meshaal’s speech

Resistance for us is a means and not an end. I am speaking to the whole world through the media. If the world finds a means, without resistance or bloodshed, to return Palestine and Jerusalem to us, and the right of return, and to end the Zionist occupation then we welcome it. We tried you [the world] for 64 years and you have done nothing. So if we resort to resistance do not blame us. If we found another way without war we would have seized it, but the history of nations shows that there is no victory or liberation without resistance, without battles, without sacrifice.

This is a theme Meshaal has spoken about before, including in a speech in 2009 where he used almost identical words.

Meshaal, while covering the bases, praising resistance and rebutting Mahmoud Abbas’ recent assertion that only the West Bank and Gaza are “Palestine” while the rest is “Israel,” was reaffirming Hamas’ longstanding openness to dealing with the world politically, rather than solely through armed resistance.

But if you read The Observer, you would think he said “kill Jews” where he said no such thing.

Update, 9 December

The Observer replaced the word “kill” with “fight” and added this note to its article: “This article was amended on Sunday 9 December 2012 to correct a mistranslation in a quote by Meshaal.”




do you suppose the same people who translated this are the ones who mistranslated Mahmoud Ahmadinijad's speech the publication of which started all the hate Iran media frenzy?


For some reason I am reminded of Iran media's antics when they mistranslated President Morsi's speech about supporting the revolution in Syria. They intentionally mistranslated "Syria" to "Bahrain" several times int he speech.


Not surprising. The Observer is the Sunday version of The Guardian. The Guardian started as the Manchester Guardian, a newsletter for the Jews of Cheetham Hill. The iconic Editor C. P. Scott helped the zionist movement to become established in Britain, and he wored with Weissman on the Balfour Declaration.


Yes, of course, the Observer needs to be pressurised to print a correction. Now might be a time that they are sensitive to this sort of accusation as the newspapers say they are trying to put their house in order after the Leveson report.


Mr. Abbas and many others are remarkably ignorant on this topic. The United Nations does not have the power to create states nor to recognize them, only to admit them to membership. States exist when they are recognized by other states, there is no other criterion. The State of Israel was declared on 14th May 1948 and asked for, and received, recognition on the borders specified in the UN Partition Plan. The part of Mandatory Palestine outside the legal borders of Israel remains Palestine: by subtraction, its borders are those of the Arab State in the Partition Plan. In 1948 Palestine could not become a state, because it had no government, but Palestine became a state in 1988 by the same process of declaration and recognition that created Israel. Both states exist: Israel is a sovereign independent state and is a full member of the United Nations; Palestine is not independent because it is occupied by Israel.

In the 1948-49 war Israel illegally incorporated into itself (i.e stolen) all the territory between its legal Partition Plan borders and the 1949 Armistice Line, and the Armistice Line has become the de facto border of Israel. Abbas has accepted that in a final agreement Israel can retain this territory, but rather unwisely calls it the 1967 border, when in fact it is not a legal border at all. Israel and Palestine need to negotiate their common border, but compensation for the 'stolen' land needs to come into the equation.


It was puzzling to read the original mis-translation, especially in light of the more detailed interview with Manuela Paraipan in Damascus last week. ( - so thanks for catching this and good that the Guardian (Sunday Observer) made a correction! (but of course, the lie is spinning already!)


I don't think you need to be a fluent Arabic speaker to know the words nuqatilu (fight) and naqtulu (kill) aren't the same. They clearly look and sound different both in reading and listening. I don't see how the two can be confused except by someone who has basic Arabic (in which case why is such a person translating for the Observer?!), or else by someone deliberately mistranslating .


What happened to the deal with Sharon? Or
was Steinberg misinformed?

"In the 1970s, Hamas was built up by Israeli occupying forces as a "countergang" to the PLO of Yasser Arafat. Hamas leaders were granted licenses by Israeli authorities to set up food kitchens, clinics, schools and daycare centers, to create a governing structure alternative to Arafat's Fatah...

...Sharon would move to "transfer" large portions of the Arab population of Israel—along with a majority of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians—to the east bank of the Jordan River, under a Sharon-sponsored Hamas regime"

Jeffrey Steinberg

Sharon Plan for Mideast War Exposed


The guardian relies on Israeli sources to cover Gaza, therefore the translation was probably provided by someone who has an agenda to show Khaled Maashal as a rabid anti-jewish "dog" thus provide vindication and justification for Israel's utter refusal to talk to the Hamas.
The people of Israel (I am one of them) were also treated to an abbreviated version of Maashal speech which contained only the words Kill, Destroy,Eliminate, Never recognize and so forth.
This version was provided by the Israeli's so caleld "Arab experts", who know everything but understand nothing.


Israel created Hamas because it did not want to talk to the PLO supposedly because it was a "terrorist" organization.

Now it talks to Abbas who was PLO but supposedly not to Hamas which according to Steinberg made a deal with Israel that if it would help Israel ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Population of Arabs it would overthrow King Hussein and install Hamas as the government of Jordan.

A faction in the PLO did try to overthrow King Hussein before with disastrous consequences for the Palestinians.

The ethnic cleansing policy was explained by Moshe Dayan who said that the Israelis would always provoke the Arabs to get a response so they would have an excuse to smash them.

Hamas has provided that excuse again and again and again with its makeshift rockets which do nothing but provide the Israeli government with an excuse to kill more Palestinians and grab more Palestinian land.

Lets face it. The Palestinians have no representation and can have none until the UN makes it an independent state by force if necessary.

Fat chance since the UN was created by Zionist Jews for the purpose of creating Israel to be the capital of a one world government run by Jews.


An enduring myth is that “Israel created Hamas.” It is without basis. The most that can be said is that in Hamas’ early days, and before it engaged in armed activities, Israel tolerated as part of a divide and rule strategy with the PLO. But Israel did not “create” Hamas.


Could you post a translation of the entire speech into English?


I’ve not seen a full translation, but for us producing one would be beyond our time resources.


The Observer reader's editor has responded by saying that they got the translation from Israel's Y-Net:

"The Observer used the incorrect translation of the quote after seeing it on
> this news website
> It also appeared that same evening on an Iranian news agency
> I have shown a video of the speech to an Arabic speaker here in London, who
> confirms that Mr Mashaal uses the word "fight" and not "kill"."

Appalling that they chose to get their information from Y-Net, and didn't see it as their job to get their own translation in the first place