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Hamas is Asking for Washington’s Hand - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Somebody affiliated to the Palestinian Authority expressed his frustration by saying, “this is treacherous,” as he condemned the scene in the Gaza Strip as Hamas threw itself into the arms of the US administration and publicly announced its acceptance of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, going back on everything it used to reject in the past when it labeled those who called for this as traitors.

I said to him: it is true that it is unfaithful but this is politics in which [there is] no allegiance, no loyalty and no morality. The Hamas government shocked many of its followers and scared its rivals when it suddenly showed, without any indication, that it wants ties with the US administration, and supports the peaceful solution unconditionally. Gaza confused the residents of Ramallah, where the Palestinian government is based, as well as Fatah leaders that rushed to attack Hamas’ new position without thinking. The Endowments Minister, Mahmoud al Habash, considered ties with Washington a move that would harm the Palestinian people. I forgot to say that the speaker here is the Minister of Endowments for the PA, not a minister from the Hamas government. As for the reason [for the change], I explained that two weeks ago in order to understand Hamas’ position. I said that it is inclining towards the direction of the Syrian inclination. Hamas really is nothing but an annex of the Syrian Foreign Ministry regarding its foreign relations, and the matter does not require much deliberation.

We must reproach the PA for its tumult against Hamas just because it changed its position and this time it is now seeking a relationship with Washington and supporting the peaceful solution. This is an advanced position and serves the Palestinian project in general regardless of the Hamas rivalry. The question here is: can the support of the peaceful solution, which was expressed by Hamas officials, last until the end of the year or even till the end of the summer? Is Hamas’ advanced position reflective of a more important development in Syrian policy towards the peace process? If this is the case then we are facing an important breakthrough on the regional level. Despite that the news of Hamas’ u-turn is important and is of political significance, we should not rely upon it firstly because Hamas doesn’t have a real position in any field; secondly, these are merely words and not action; and thirdly because the language is the wrong way round as Hamas said that it does not object to the establishment of ties with Washington when it is in fact Washington that is rejecting this, not the other way round! The problem is the government of Barack Obama not the government of Ismail Haniyeh. Whether that was just a statement or a serious, new policy, it is expected that the government of Mahmoud Abbas will offer congratulations to the Hamas government and begin cooperating with it and make the most of the occasion to bring together the disordered Palestinian politics and prepare to bring back together Gaza and the West Bank. Every topic has its own content.

Everybody in the region, including Syria and Israel, and outside of the region, for example the United States, knows very well that the Palestinian Authority is the legitimate and sole representative [of the Palestinian people] and realizes that there can be no negotiations without it. Therefore, they must not panic about the flirting between Hamas, Washington and Israel as it is [the kind of] flirting that will have no outcome.

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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