Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Abu Mazen Puts Hamas in an Awkward Position - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

I have not seen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deal political blows before, particularly like the one that he dealt Hamas recently. We have become accustomed to seeing him on the defensive and as the recipient of continuous blows.

This time, however; he volunteered to disclose that there was an agreement reached between Hamas and Israel through Egyptian mediation. Abu Mazen also revealed that Hamas had demanded a guarantee for the safety of its leaders who Israel had threatened to target directly after it had been targeting unarmed civilians.

This, of course, provoked the intense anger of his comrades in Hamas who denied allegations of Egyptian mediation, a ceasefire deal and an immunity guarantee for figures in its leadership.

The truth is that I am more inclined to believe Abu Mazen’s story for logical reasons; he is known to be an honest man. Besides, we are familiar with Hamas’s elusive rhetoric that only reveals half of the story – much like Israel. When the media questioned Israeli Prime Minsiter Ehud Olmert about the alleged negotiations with Hamas, he flatly denied it, which is true since communication took place via Egyptian mediation. Olmert did not lie but he did not tell the truth either – same as Hamas.

Examining Hamas’s responses reveals that they indirectly affirm it [the striking of an agreement with Israel]; the organization had previously declared that it will not stop launching rockets until Israel stops its attacks on Gaza – and this is where the craftiness of the statements lies.

Everything must be regarded as a chain of successive events to reveal the whole picture. Hamas used to previously uphold that it will not stop launching rockets since it was part of its rights to resistance and confronting the occupation. Then, without seeming to have changed its position, the group began to announce that it would stop its attacks on Israel on condition of lifting the blockade on Gaza.

But the aftermath of Israel’s brutal attacks in Gaza has put Hamas in a difficult position, especially after Israel announced that it intended to target figures in the Hamas leadership. Hamas’s previous statements now overlooked, the organization then stated that it would not stop its attacks on Israel until the latter stopped attacking it.

Thus, we are confronted by three stages of change in rhetoric and yet the final outcome is that Hamas is prepared to go back to the situation it was in for two years, which is a truce with Israel, same as the Palestinian Authority (PA) had done before it. Suicide operations benefit the enemy more than they do the Palestinians.

Without a doubt the people who encourage Hamas to attack Israel usually state their positions from the comfort of their homes as they sit amidst their families and children in secure places away from the Israeli savagery; such as in the Gulf, Syria, Egypt and others.

The Palestinian president was right to criticize Hamas when he questioned: What have the Palestinian people gained from the abduction of an Israeli soldier two years ago? He added that this operation had cost 1,000 Palestinian lives most of whom were unarmed civilians.

Likewise, the absurd rockets that Hamas has been firing have destroyed Gaza; so what is the advantage gained, especially since Hamas has gone back to square one by reaching a truce with Israel? Hamas will stop launching its rockets and Israel will stop firing its bullets.

Unfortunately the regional powers are accustomed to exploiting the Palestinian people for their own purposes, and the battle of Gaza is but one of such battles. This is the sad reality.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

More Posts