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Don't Punish Hamas - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The four missiles fired from Gaza last week were not intended to harm Israel, but rather to harm Hamas, which is determined not to breach the truce in an effort to please the Syrians. Those who fired the missiles, including Fatah, wanted to spoil everything for Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s firing of missiles, which ruined their negotiations in the past and disrupted several previous truces.

This truce has shown Hamas’s true face in terms of the language it used and the stances it adopted. This in itself is sufficient for those who wish to take revenge. The Palestinians have heard and seen Hamas turn against everything for which it had made them suffer. We recall that following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the Palestinians demolished Israeli settlements, folded away Israeli flags, and handed the Gaza Strip keys to the PA. At that time, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas called on all Palestinian factions and organizations not to give the Israelis the pretext to invade liberated Gaza and said that it was time to pressure the Israelis to leave the West Bank.

For its part, Hamas accused of treason all those who tried to stop it from firing missiles and threatened those who tried to prevent it from sending its young men on military operations, most of which were a failure. As for Israel, it always retaliated. Every time Hamas fired a missile, Israel returned to Gaza to destroy, kill, and turn the lives of Palestinian citizens into a living hell. Hamas deliberately did this in an effort to embarrass the PA, despite the fact that the PA had handed over the reins to Hamas and allowed it to lead the government after it won the elections, in an unprecedented move in the Arab World. But instead of thanking Fatah, Hamas turned against it, caused division, kicked Fatah out, and assigned itself as the ruler of Gaza in the name of fighting Israel. Now, Hamas has received orders from Damascus to stop firing its missiles and not to harm the Israelis in order to facilitate Damascus’s negotiations with the Israelis in Turkey and to improve its relations with France. If we take an objective view of the situation away from sentiments, we see that the PA, its biggest faction Fatah, and its military wings must give truce a chance. Let the Israelis rest in peace and let Hamas sleep under Olmert’s government, because this will produce a realistic mentality within Hamas. As a result of its subordination to outside parties, Hamas lost immensely from the very beginning. It kidnapped, fired missiles, and made truce on outside orders, thus paying no heed to the interests of its people in Palestine and their central cause. Everyone saw that Hamas ‘s decisions came from the outside from the time it staged its coup against the PA and guarded the Israeli border, which it often penetrated when Fatah was in power. Actually, Hamas has lost the image it had built for itself as an organization that rejects reconciliation, negotiation, and peace.

Let Hamas enjoy the negotiations, reconciliation, border guarding, and Israeli atmosphere. This is in order for everyone to view it as yet another political movement and not as a divine authority. Let the residents of Gaza enjoy, albeit slightly, the calm, bread, and fuel.

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.

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