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Gaza: Following Afghanistan's Footsteps - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The issuing of statements by new armed organizations that go by various names has become a familiar occurrence in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the Gaza strip, Hamas’s stronghold. The common denominator between all these different groups is their possession of weapons, and their readiness to use them.

The relative size of these groups is not important, however what is important is the following:

Firstly, the rhetoric from these groups has intensified; every statement released is more stringent than the one before. Secondly, the Gaza strip is following in the footsteps of Afghanistan with regards to the abundance of arms, poverty, and division between one armed group and another, who are more than prepared to fight, leading to even greater divisions.

We have seen the Jaish Al Umma (Army of the Islamic Nation) group which some claimed did not to exist, even though Hamas arrested its leader Abu Hafs and then released him. We have seen a bloody conflict between the forces of Hamas and the Doghmush family, and today we see the so-called Palestinian Hezbollah.

The transformation of the Gaza strip into another Afghanistan is a future whose first casualty will be the Palestinians and their cause which has been shattered by Hamas who want to rule as they will, and are waiting for the world to accommodate them. The first thing we must do is stop this nonsense of saying that Hamas came to power through elections. For those who come to power via elections do not have the right to be selective with regards to agreements made by the legitimate authority – the very same authority which pushed for the elections which Hamas won in the first place. Unfortunately this view is taken not only among the public, but also by some Arab politicians. Those who call for elections must respect all previous agreements.

And what must be said at this juncture is that Hamas is a very real danger to the Palestinian cause. They have already blown the chance of creating a Palestinian state thanks to their division from the legitimate authority of Abu Mazen. The coming days will certainly be worse with the possibility of the imminent departure of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next January, and so tolerating Hamas will be an Arab sin so long as Arabs are supporting the Palestinian cause.

The Gaza strip has been transformed into a potential land mine due to the poverty, repressions and the proliferation of arms. moreover, Hamas has shown that it won’t unleashing its fury against the Israelis but rather against Egypt and its borders, they have become a real danger to the Egyptians, which is what we have seen with the breach of the Gaza-Egypt border.

Hamas tried to drag Egypt into this crisis with this breach of borders while it enjoys a truce with Israel, turning the Gaza strip into a front as peaceful as the Golan Heights, while at the same time they dare accuse the Palestinian government of meekness and forgetting the Palestinian cause.

And in conclusion, we have yet to see a reasonable trend within the Hamas organization which appreciates the consequences of governing Gaza. We have not heard protests of Hamas’s threat to occupy the West Bank, and control it as they did the Gaza strip. And so we must take a decisive stand against Hamas, and for a simple reason, the boat which they are drilling holes in will not only drown them, but drown all of us, and we will all be the victims. We cannot allow Hamas to fragmentize the Palestinians as they wish, or to plot with Iran as they see fit.

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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