by Giovanni Giacalone
On October 10th, just a few days after the massacre perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians in southern Israel that included rapes, people burnt alive, as well as the abduction of over 200 people, including the elderly and babies (one just 9 months old), the main speaker at a pro-Palestinian demonstration that was held in central Milan, Mohammad Hannoun, claimed that “Hamas’ attack is self-defense”, while being interviewed by the Italian national TV station Rai3.
Mohammad Hannoun is a well-known character: the president of the “Palestinians in Italy Association”, the “Europeans for Al-Quds” and the head of the “Charity Association for Palestinian Support” (ABSPP) in Italy.
This fact was already exposed on October 11th by the Washington Outsider in this article.
These words obviously cannot avoid generating indignation and horror considering that the October 7th slaughter was the worst case of pogrom against the Jewish people since World War II.
As if it wasn’t enough, just a few days later, at the Friday sermon at the Islamic Center of Genoa, Hannoun used his role of imam to attack Israel, the United States, some Arab countries and Italy for siding with Israel:
“We have seen the attitude of our Italian, European, American governments and some Arab countries who have sided in favor of Israel, who begin to cry for the victims, who even told the lie to encourage, to compare Hamas as equal to ISIS ”… All this, to attack the “Palestinian resistance”, according to Hannoun.
The video was posted on both, the Facebook page of the Islamic Center of Genoa and Hannoun’s account, but it later disappeared.
Such activity did not go unnoticed and several Italian newspapers from both, left-wing and right-wing political areas, published articles exposing the issue.
For instance, on November 19th, 2023, La Repubblica newspaper published a long article by title “Anti-Semitism is spreading in the Islamist galaxy: the men of Hamas are our partisans”, exposing Hannoun and his network.
On November 23rd 2023, the newspaper La Verità published an article by the title: “The man who supports the orphans of suicide bombers is in Rome”, in reference to Hannoun’s alleged financial support to the families of suicide bombers. In July 0f 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Defense asked the Italian police to seize Hannoun’s money. From the investigation conducted by the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, it emerged that 500 thousand euros were available to the architect who in the past was accused by Israel, without any criminal repercussions, of hiding financial support to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
These funds, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, are “the property of, or in any case a reward for, a terrorist organization.” Therefore, “they must be seized”. As explained by the Italian news site Il Sussidiario, over the years, and on several occasions, the Italian intelligence services received from Israel reports of strange movements of Mohammad Hannoun’s associations, in particular of money.
It is important to recall that, in August 2022, an investigative report published by OFCS Report, an Italian observatory with expertise in national and international security, exposed a series of political connections regarding Hannoun, on a national and international level, including photos of him next to Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal.
Going back to the very recent Italian media coverage of Hannoun, on November 1st 2023, newspaper Il Foglio published an article entitled “Five-Star Movement, left-wing and Democratic Party; friends of Hannoun, the defender of Hamas”. Citing his connections to well-known Italian members of the political arena.
On October 14th 2023, the Italian news site Linkiesta, published an article with a very strong message, signed by Massimiliano Coccia and entitled: “The European Hamas network, Italian complicity and our usual weakness”.
In this article, the author delivers a very clear point:
“Mohammed Hannoun is known to the intelligence services of half of Europe and Israel; every year he organizes conferences with associations that support terrorists. However, we do nothing to stop it, unlike other countries”, pointing the finger at those Italian institutions who are supposed to intervene.
Coccia goes even further and writes:
“When in December 2021 in Repubblica I wrote about the network of associations and non-governmental organizations that in many European countries and in Italy used charitable activities to send money to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, few put the issue at the center of the political debate. Although there had been the closure of a bank account of the Charitable Association of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Odv, led by the architect Mohammed Hannoun, due to various anti-money laundering reports, everything remained crammed into the discussions for the experts. Numerous bipartisan parliamentary questions arose but no Interior Minister ever responded to the request for clarification”. ( Paolo Berizzi, “L’antisemitismo dilaga nella galassia islamista: “Gli uomini di Hamas sono i nostri partigiani”, Repubblica, November 19th, 2023; p. 9.)
On December 6th, the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post published an article by the title: “Israel warns European countries over massive network of Hamas operatives” explaining how Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry sent personal letters to about 20 European leaders, signed by Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, which included evidence of the terrorist activity of Hamas activists and operatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in major cities across the continent. Among the individuals cited as linked to Hamas, Mohammad Hannoun.
Concia raises an important point as it is yet unclear why the Italian authorities have so far not intervened despite Hannoun’s horrific statements regarding Hamas’ October 7th attack and all the information received by the Israeli authorities. Especially, considering that Italy did take measures against individuals who were posting similar hateful content, but backing Isis on social media. Is Isis any different from Hamas?
The level of anti-Semitism is high, as seen during street demonstrations in Rome and Milan where activists call for “the murder of Jews” and clearly invoke support for Hamas and the al-Qassam Brigades, defined as “Palestinian resistance”. Any type of extremist propaganda coming from Islamist representatives is therefore very dangerous as it could inflame hearts and minds, consequently leading to violent attacks.
In conclusion, it is worth launching a provocation citing a consideration from Dr. Francesca Musacchio’s book “La Trattativa Stato-Islam” (the State-Islam negotiation) where she discusses negotiations between the Italian authorities and Islamic representatives. Two very interesting points are taken into exam: the first one is the fact that Italy, unlike France, the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Spain, never experienced attacks by Islamist terrorist organizations. The second one is the so-called “Lodo Moro”, an agreement, sought after the Fiumicino massacre of 17 December 1973 by Foreign Minister Aldo Moro, with which Italy guaranteed the Palestinians – aided by Italian subversive groups – freedom of passage of weapons and explosives on their national territory; in exchange, the Palestinians guaranteed not to strike on Italian soil.
In chapter 5 of “The State-Islam Negotiation”, Musacchio cites the writings of former General Antonio Cornacchia in the book “Airone 1, Retroscena di un’Epoca” (Heron 1: Behind the Scenes of an Era) where the author hypothesizes if it could be possible that some sort of “Lodo Moro” is currently active with Islamists:
“…Italy will be the only country, and not only in Europe, to be safe from attacks by al Qaeda and radical Islamic galaxies, including the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, perhaps having as a counterpart that historical and Moro-Christian tolerance towards imams, mosques and every center of radical agitation”?
In sunto, could all this go beyond the different governments that come and go? Maybe something rooted within the internal mechanisms of risky agreements with inappropriate interlocutors and perpetrated by profound State apparatuses?
Indeed, these are just speculations within a very ambiguous and unclear overview, but in a democratic and free society it is imperative to question everything, especially when dealing with horrific crimes against humanities perpetrated by terrorist organizations such as Hamas, because that is the main issue that should never be forgotten: women raped and shot, families burned alive, people tortured, this is what happened and this is not “self-defense” nor “resistance”.