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Judging Hamas's Actions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Hamas broke away from the Palestinian Authority and took over Gaza by force.

Some of its members threw a defenseless Fatah employee from the rooftop of a 15-story apartment building to his death. Hamas’ security forces killed peaceful demonstrators in the streets and prevented people from praying in public squares; all this in just under five months.

Hamas openly abused the political system that brought it to power and in the process ruined intra-Palestinian relations. Therefore we wonder, why the reckless behavior and why all this violence?

This year Hamas celebrates its twentieth anniversary, which in terms of political movements is not an adolescent period, but rather a period that is usually defined by maturity, experience and wisdom. But what should be recognized here is that the older the Hamas movement gets, the bigger its mistakes become.

It is strange that our initial concerns were greater for the older Fatah movement, especially after the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004; a crisis was expected because of the leadership vacuum. However the Fatah movement despite the numerous contradictions and multiple leadership figures did not go through any turmoil. All its leaders consented to the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and pledged allegiance to him. However, the Hamas movement proved the exact opposite after the death of its founder and leader Sheikh Yassin. It is quite the coincidence that his death and Arafat’s death were only eight months apart.

Let us compare the two organizations for a moment; Hamas, not Fatah, suffers from an absence of leadership. It had become an organization synonymous with controversy and opposition, putting an end to Sheikh Yassin’s policy of not fighting with the Palestinian Authority or its other sister organizations.

On the other hand, Fatah under the leadership of Abu Mazen adopted a calm stance against the humiliation and degradation from their fellow Palestinians in Gaza; however this did not solve their problems.

What is also strange is that Hamas is now the party that prevents any attacks against Israel. Under its governance, not a single suicide operation was conducted against the Israelis; in fact most of its military activities has centered on Fatah and its affiliates.

When we hear statements out of Gaza, we see contradictions between Hamas’s leaders; with even greater contradictions from its leadership in Syria. Yet the question remains, who is the real leader of this lost organization? Why do its leaders threaten Israel, calling for it to withdraw from the West Bank only to accept the Israeli occupation and rise against the Palestinian Authority?

Hamas, during the time of Sheikh Yassin, refused to be in a position of power, however, in the Mashaal/ Haniyah era, it clings to power to the extent that it refuses to provoke Israel, as well as failing to defend 64 of its prominent figures who were arrested by Israel and remain in its prisons.

It seems that at every step that Hamas takes only sinks it further in the Palestinian mire, and in the process has transformed it into a “blood-thirsty” coup movement in front of its own people.

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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