Hamas slams Lebanese cartoon for ‘likening’ Palestinians to coronavirus

The portrait of the keffiyeh-clad man carries the date April 13, 1975, reference to the anniversary of the civil war in Lebanon.

Workers pack food supplies to be distributed and delivered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to the homes of Palestinian refugees as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the northern Gaza Strip March 31, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Workers pack food supplies to be distributed and delivered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to the homes of Palestinian refugees as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the northern Gaza Strip March 31, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Did the Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria liken Palestinians to the coronavirus pandemic?
A cartoon published by the newspaper on April 15 to mark the 45th anniversary of the civil war in Lebanon features a portrait of a man whose face is covered with a keffiyeh headdress next to an image of the virus.
The keffiyeh has long been considered a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.
The portrait of the keffiyeh-clad man carries the date April 13, 1975, reference to the anniversary of the civil war in Lebanon.
The cartoon was interpreted by Hamas as an attempt to hold Palestinians responsible for the Lebanese civil war between 1975 and 1990, and which resulted in the death of some 120,000 people.
Hamas expressed outrage over the “harmful” cartoon, dubbing it “racist, hateful and unethical.”
The newspaper published a statement denying that the cartoon was directed against Palestinians. “We received from the media office of Hamas in Lebanon a statement denouncing the publication of the cartoon and arguing that it inflames passions and offends Lebanese-Palestinian relations,” the Lebanese newspaper said. “The publication of the cartoon does not target or abuse Lebanese-Palestinian relations. The cartoon expresses the opinion of the cartoonist, who had no intention to insult or offend anyone.”
The Hamas statement said the cartoon “fuels racist sentiments” and comes at a time when Lebanese and Palestinians are cooperating to defeat the coronavirus.
Senior Hamas official Ra’fat al-Murra demanded an apology from Al-Joumhouria and called on Lebanese officials to reject and denounce the “racist” cartoon.