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Hamas and the Predicament of Return - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Hamas leadership has welcomed the Doha agreement which has led to the reactivation of the political process between the feuding Lebanese factions. In numerous statements, the movement has expressed its desire of an Arab endeavor similar to an Arab League committee to help end the estrangement between itself and Fatah.

So has the Hamas movement returned to its senses after wronging the Palestinian cause and its people or have recent political events baffled the Hamas leadership into scratching its head out of fear of what’s next?

Today, Hamas is in a predicament and it is looking to return to Arab-sponsored negotiations similar to that of the Mecca accord or the Egyptian initiative, because its leaders felt the severity of the regional situation, after the major Arab states had restored the regional initiative following the shock of the Iranian week in Beirut.

However, why has Hamas decided to seek Arab help? Naturally, there are a number of reasons. Firstly, an Arab official, who has been monitoring the events of the past two weeks, said that the main reason is that “Hamas feels that it had created a problem for its Egyptian ally, and of course Syria will distance itself from them”.

This leads us to the second reason, which is Khalid Mishal and his colleagues. The Hamas leaders know that they are the weakest link in Israeli-Syrian negotiations. As far Damascus is concerned, Hamas is neither as important nor as sensitive an issue as Hezbollah and Iran are. Any peace agreement between the Syrians and Israelis will have ramifications on Damascus’s relationship with Hamas.

Another reason is the deadlocked truce negotiations between Hamas and Israel. This might have led to the extermination of the Hamas leadership, which in turn has led to it keeping a low profile in wake of the Israeli threat.

Hamas has harmed the Palestinians and their cause and has largely lost its credibility in the Arab world even if Arab politicians won’t publicly admit that. Moreover it is enough to mention that Hamas’s allies are the Iranians and the Syrians, and with friends like these, who needs enemies?

A Palestinian official regretfully said: “When Sharon left Gaza, Middle East Quartet’s special envoy James Wolfensohn came to us with approximately $2.5 billion in order to develop the Gaza strip… Look what Hamas has done to us today, our military power is weak, and our people are starving with 80 percent of them living below the poverty line, while they beg for a truce and the lifting of an embargo that wasn’t there two years ago”.

Saving the people of Gaza is one thing and saving the Hamas leadership is another, and this should be clear and agreed upon in our region. Accordingly, Khalid Mishal and his colleagues must abandon the Gaza coup and immediately call for early elections. Above all, they must recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLA) and its agreements.

Arab nations need to learn a lesson from the Gaza coup and what happened in Beirut on 7 April, 2008; otherwise our nations will fall to those groups sponsored by Iran and others.

It is not acceptable for Khalid Mishal or others to play with our security, only to return seeking help after feeling let down by his Syrian allies, or when the Tehran’s situation looks more dangerous then its worth.

We should not indulge with Hamas, especially out of respect for the blood of the people of Gaza

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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