Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hamas is Threatening Who? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Following the assassination of Qassam Brigades leading figure Mahmoud al Mabhouh in his [hotel] room in Dubai, the leaders of Hamas came out threatening and promising to avenge his death. This is understandable and only expected due to the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; however what was not clear was whether Hamas was threatening revenge on Israel or was threatening to violate the land of Arab countries.

Some Hamas leaders began to remind us of the history of the intelligence war between the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] and Israel in the past and it seems that for the first time Hamas is acknowledging the PLO’s struggle and what it did for the Palestinian cause, as Hamas mentioned conflicts that took place in Cyprus for example. Mahmoud Zahar, a leading Hamas figure, went further than that when he openly threatened that “we send a clear message to the Arab countries with ties to the Zionist side to learn from the lesson of this crime that was committed.”

He added, (and this is the crux of the matter), “Today, the incident has been repeated in the UAE, and I believe that the UAE and other [states] must realize that the Zionist side does not respect the sovereignty of any Arab country nor of any state in the world, and that its own interest takes precedence over all interests of nations. [In this regard] there must be reconsideration of ties between the Zionist enemy and the states and [there must be] evaluation [of ties] in light of the crimes committed by the occupying state against the Palestinian people.”

The first mistake is that the UAE does not have ties with the “Zionist side” to use Zahar’s terms. Is Hamas trying to say that Mossad agents are moving around freely in UAE territory for example and that this is known to the authorities there? If Mahmoud al Mabhouh himself – the Hamas commander who was assassinated in Dubai and who was assigned the task of liaising between Hamas and Iran – entered the UAE from Damascus on what was said to be an Iraqi passport (but that is another story altogether) and using a different name, and the UAE authorities did not know at the time that he was a leading figure of the Qassam Brigades or that he was wanted by Mossad for 20 years, then how would the UAE security authorities or others know whether or not those coming to the UAE are agents of Mossad or other apparatus?

If Mahmoud al Mabhouh did not carry a real passport and did not have his real name on it then should we expect that Mossad agents would have their real names and the nature of their work contained in their passports? With al Mabhouh’s presence in Dubai, and after it became known that he was the liaison with Iran, it became clear that it was Hamas that initiated exploiting Arab states including the UAE to carry out its activities that expose those Arab countries to danger. Therefore, what Hamas is trying to say today following the assassination of al Mabhouh is nothing but controversy that can only be described as absurd and as an attempt to cover up previous violations carried out by Hamas against Arab states.

Therefore, the condemnation of al Mabhouh’s assassination does not give Hamas a right to threaten Arab states or to violate Arab territories. Rather, the question here is why al Mabhouh didn’t – and others for that matter – carry out his work in Syria for example? We must remind Hamas here that Imad Mughniyeh and others were assassinated in Syria without there being any ties between Damascus and the “Zionist side” in Zahar’s words!