When Asharq Al-Awsat revealed news of a workshop that was held in Switzerland recently attended by Israeli figures and figures from the Hamas movement, the Islamist movement, at first, denied the reports. The next day however, the movement admitted [attending the workshop] but said that those taking part in the talks were expressing the movement’s views but did not belong to the movement themselves.
A source within Hamas told our newspaper on Sunday that the figures affiliated to Hamas insisted that they were not representing the movement at the talks but were expressing its position, and that they focused on stating that the movement wants peace and that the Europeans could rely on Hamas, indicating that those figures concentrated on the importance of building relations with the Europeans.
At the same time, the source also revealed that there were heated debates between the delegation that was representing the Palestinian Authority and figures affiliated to Hamas, as the PA delegation was stressing that it represented all Palestinians whilst Hamas rejected this saying: “The PA delegation represents itself alone. Hamas is a key player that cannot be ignored, and the PA cannot speak for it at the conference.”
Hamas always strives towards speaking on behalf of the Palestinians, as it is trying to market itself to the West. The best example of this is what one of Hamas’ advisors said after eliminating Jund Ansar Allah in Rafah. This advisor said that Hamas is against extremism and is fighting it with weapons, and the West should recognize this and, as a result, should reward the movement by opening up to it.
For that reason, Hamas has been playing the media for a while as it is resorting to appointing numerous representatives and speakers and is giving them the space to write and appear in Israeli and Western media in order to benefit from what some people consider the two wings of the Hamas movement. These two wings are described as the doves and the hawks whilst the difference between the two is left unexplained to Arab public opinion.
The difference between the two, put simply, is that the doves of Hamas are friends of Israel whilst the Hamas hawks are friends of Iran. Before the protestors respond to this they should answer one question: what are the Hamas doves doing regarding reconciliation with their Palestinian brothers, especially as they are accepting of negotiations with the Israelis, or doesn’t charity begin at home in this case?
Therefore, Hamas should not be taken seriously by the West or the Arabs unless it launches Palestinian dialogue and embarks upon bringing the inter-Palestinian conflict to an end instead of letting Palestinian dialogue in Egypt carry on falling on deaf ears. Solving the inter-Palestinian conflict is the test, not negotiations with Israel. For that reason, Jihad in Switzerland is no less of a game than the rocket tanks in Gaza.
Hamas does not represent all Palestinians, in fact it divides them, and the proof as to whether it is serious or not, is the extent to which it has contributed to ending the inter-Palestinian conflict. Anything other than that is a trick and [an attempt to] buy time in the hope that the movement would win over international recognition, or that it would regain the [strong] level of Iranian support that it once received in the past.