- Serves as first deputy to the president of the Palestinian Legislative Council
- Represents the senior leadership of Hamas
- Supports jihad and the extermination of the Jews
Born in Gaza in 1949, Ahmad Bahr worked as a high-school teacher in Al Khalil (the Arabic name for the city of Hebron) from 1971-74. From 1972-76 he was a preacher in the Beit Amer Mosque, also in Al Khalil. And in 1984 he was named vice president of the Employees Syndicate in the Islamic University of Gaza. From 1985-2004 Bahr served as secretary-general of Gaza’s Islamic Society. He also has been a lecturer in the Islamic University’s Arabic Language Department, and first deputy to the president of the Palestinian Legislative Council. In that role, he helped to represent the senior leadership of Hamas.
In a spring 2007 address which was aired on Sudanese television, Bahr extolled the virtues of Islamic jihadists and characterized Muslims as “the masters of the world.” Jews and Americans, he said, are “cowards who are eager for life, while we [Muslims] are eager for death for the sake of Allah.”
In an April 2007 sermon which was broadcast on an official Palestinian Authority-controlled television station, Bahr described Jews as “the cancerous lump … in the heart of the Arab nation” and predicted that “America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing.” Added Bahr: “Allah, take hold of the Jews and their allies. Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies…. [C]ount them and kill them to the last one and don’t leave even one.”
In a 2010 speech that aired on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV station, Bahr flatly condemned the very idea of engaging Israel in peace negotiations, which he said “are aimed at uprooting Islam and the resistance here in Palestine, in Gaza.” Bahr championed instead the path of jihad, holding out the promise of 2.5 million virgins awaiting Islamic martyrs in a single palace in the Garden of Eden. He elaborated: “When a man is having sex with his wife, he should be praying for a son who would wage jihad for the sake of Allah…. I say to you: As long as we continue on this path, nobody on Earth will be able to confront the resistance, or to confront the mujahideen, those who worship Allah and seek martyrdom.”
In May 2011, Bahr praised the signing of a landmark reconciliation pact by which Hamas and Fatah formally ended a bitter four-year rift. In Bahr’s calculus, this was a positive development that would serve to strengthen the ability of Palestinians to combat the “black agendas and malicious objectives” of Israel and the United States.
In a September 2011 sermon, Bahr declared that Allah had “imposed the nation of Muhammad and the jihad-waging Palestinian people, upon those siblings of apes and pigs [the Jews], until we sweep them out of our land and our holy places.”
In October 2011, Bahr voiced his strong approval of a deal in which the Israeli government agreed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped and detained for more than five years by Palestinian militants. Shortly after the deal, Bahr exhorted Palestinians to seize additional Israeli soldiers whom they could use as leverage for future prisoner exchanges of a similar nature. “The popular, political, media and diplomatic efforts inside and outside can never be an alternative to the military efforts to rescue our prisoners from the oppressive occupation’s prisons,” he declared in a press statement. “We should be tireless of making every possible effort to seize Zionist soldiers and exchange them through prisoner swap deals.”
In an August 2012 sermon sermon which was broadcast on Al-Aqsa TV, Bahr told his disciples that “if the enemy sets foot on a single square inch of Islamic land, jihad becomes an individual duty incumbent upon every Muslim, male or female.” The purpose of such jihad, he explained, was “to annihilate those Jews.” In that same sermon, Bahr prayed for Allah to “destroy the Jews and their supporters” as well as “the Americans and their supporters.” “Oh, Allah,” he emphasized, “count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.”
When U.S. President Donald Trump relocated the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2019, Bahr stated: “We say to the idiot trying to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, that he is digging his own grave. The land of Palestine will explode under the feet of this criminal.”
Further Reading: “Ahmad Bahr” (WebGaza.net); “Voices of Palestine: Ahmad Bahr” (by Joseph Klein, FrontPage Magazine, 10-23-2011); “Deputy Speaker of Hamas Parliament Ahmad Bahr: We Will Sweep the Siblings of Pigs and Apes out of Our Land” (MEMRI.org, 9-23-2011); “Hamas Leader Prays for Annihilation of Jews, Americans” (The Times of Israel, 8-20-2012).