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…And Hamas Takes to the Streets - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Following in the footsteps of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas is calling on all its supporters to take to the streets in protest of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to bring forward the elections.

Justifications in this case are the same: illegitimacy and unconstitutionality, while the clichés of distrust remain: loyalty to America and “Israel’s designs for the region.”

In the case of the Hamas movement, the question is: did Hamas come to power as a result of deep-rooted democracy in the Arab world and the civil societies in Palestine? The answer is simply no! Even if one does not like it!

Elections have always been a US demand and were held pursuant to the Oslo Accords and following Israeli demands to reform the so-called “corrupt” Fatah movement, which is something that made us laugh at the time, that is the fact that Israel was critical of Palestinian corruption and demanded reform of the Palestinian Authority!

This is the truth as history has shown us, a history that is less than a decade old that is still fresh in our memories.

Reforms in Palestine and the elections were intended to break the late President Arafat’s monopoly on its leadership and to reform the Palestinian Authority. Today, Hamas echoes statements made by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and this is the result of US-Israeli pressure for democratic elections.

We have witnessed Hamas’s concept of democracy since it came to power, with its first order of business being the improvement of Palestinian television because its artistic value was not up to its standards! This is Hamas’s concept of democracy!

Unfortunately, the kind of relationship Hamas and other groups such as Hezbollah and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have with democracy is on the same par as someone sitting behind the wheel of the newest, top of the line automobile, whilst being unable to drive.

For these groups, democracy is slogans without accountability, and without its duties towards the nation and its citizens. Rather, it is the thwarting of all gains, while also deepening its steadfast backwardness and disrupting intellectual, political and economic life. Meanwhile, failure always has its ready excuse: America and the Zionist plot!

What Hamas is not aware of is that it has returned the Palestinian situation to its pre-Oslo days and in the process, it has lost all the gains, as few as they were, of the Palestinian people.

Despite all the criticism of the Late Yasser Arafat – much of which is fair since he was not an ideal model – he had given an international dimension, or rather international recognition, to the Palestinian cause, whilst Hamas took over and minimized this cause on both the Arab and international levels.

In pursuit of “pure money”, it is apparent that all Hamas has done is throw itself into the arms of Iran and into the hands of Tehran’s tools in the region. Here we see every rejection and disruption of the situation in the Palestinian territories coming first from Damascus, with Farouk al Qaddumi a part of it.

Hamas has become a source of suffering for the Palestinian people and a frustration of the democratic experience in the region, especially for the Islamist current. The problem with Hamas is that it has only adopted the slogans of democracy and in the process; it burns the candle from both ends, making it difficult to position, and burning he who attempts to hold it for too long. And here, Hamas burns itself.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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