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Hamas at a Loss - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Palestinian President [Mahmoud Abbas] announced that Hamas secretly negotiated with Israel on the establishment of a provisional Palestinian State, until Mahmoud al-Zahar, a [senior] member of the Hamas Political Bureau denied this with a vehemence that we have become all too familiar with. After all, al-Zahar was the one who following the announcement by Mahmoud Abbas that he would not be standing for re-election said “Nobody will be sorry if Mahmoud Abbas goes.” Al-Zahar responded to the statements issued by Mahmoud Abbas by saying that Abbas was trying to blur the lines between Fatah and Hamas, and he denied that any negotiations between Hamas and Israel had taken place.

At the same time that al-Zahar was responding to the statements issued by Abbas, the Interior Minister of the deposed Hamas government in Gaza, Fathi Hamad, announced this his government had reached an agreement with Palestinian factions to halt rocket attacks on Israel, saying that “an agreement has been reached with Palestinian factions that during this period they will not perform any resistance operations with regards to rocket attacks [against Israel].”

The question here is that if Hamas will neither negotiate with nor resist Israel – the latter due to its desire for inter-Palestinian reconciliation – then what does Hamas want, what is its plan?

How can Hamas liberate the occupied territory, or achieve the State that it dreams of?

How can Hamas improve the deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip?

Anybody that wishes to engage in politics must first arrange their internal affairs, in this case inter-Palestinian reconciliation. It is up to them to negotiate and resist according to a predetermined plan, rather than in a random manner. This should also be in order to serve the Palestinian cause and its interests, and not to serve foreign objectives, or for the sake of [military] adventures with regards to home-made rocket attacks that benefit nobody and only increases the suffering of the people of Gaza. Since 2001, more than 12,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing only 20 Israelis, while today we are still counting the number of Gazan victims, not to mention [witnessing] the daily suffering of those who live in the Gaza Strip [as a result of this].

The statements issued by al-Zahar and the Hamas Interior Minister are proof that Hamas is at a loss with regards to the Gaza Strip, and this is due to the fact that all Hamas wishes to do is hold onto its emirate, even if this comes at the expense of the Palestinian cause or the suffering of the Palestinian people, otherwise why have Hamas not offered any solutions?

Why does Hamas resist and escalate the conflict [with Israel], or is its objective to serve a foreign agenda?

It clear to us why Hezbollah has concluded a truce in Lebanon, for the group’s ultimate goal is to serve Iran and it is therefore following a policy of appeasement whilst it is waiting for Iran to mature on the international stage with regards to its nuclear file, which Tehran may require in a future war. However the question remains, what does Hamas want today?

Is the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movement – in the same manner as Hezbollah – following the policy of appeasement at the moment only in preparation to take action in the event of Iran fighting an armed conflict with Israel and the West?

If this is not the case, then there is only one other explanation and that is that Hamas is at a considerable loss [with regards to what to do]. For when the Palestinian Authority concluded a truce [with Israel] we began to se construction projects and daily development of the West Bank, not to mention a marked improvement in the lives of the people living there. This is the opposite of what is happening in the Gaza Strip today, which is suffering from Hamas’s uncertainty.

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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