Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is Hamas joking? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hamas responded, as it is entitled to do, to what had been said by a number of Egyptian media outlets, regarding its role in the recent Egyptian crisis. However, the manner in which the Islamist movement responded resembled a political joke: A senior Hamas figure, Salah al-Bardawil, warned the Egyptians of exporting their crisis to the Gaza strip!

Oh God…are Egypt’s problems now being imported to the Gaza strip instead of the other way around? Or is Hamas now afraid that its affairs will be uncovered by many in Egypt? Hamas is also concerned about the internal Gaza situation itself. After Egypt experienced a political tremor last week, the Palestinian Islamist movement announced that it had no objection to the presence of cinemas in the Gaza Strip [in order to appease the people].

Yet the pressing question that requires a clear answer is this: How did Hamas prisoners flee Abu Zaabal Prison, and make their way to safety in the Gaza Strip, in a moment of chaos caused by a suspicious collapse of Egyptian security? It is true that the chaos was overwhelming, and it is natural in such circumstances for imprisoned members of Hamas, and likewise members of Hezbollah, to escape. However, it was unusual for the prisoners to arrive in the Gaza Strip at such speed, having traveled a great distance without a problem, at a time when Egyptians were complaining of how difficult it was to even return to their homes, and they were in Tahrir Square, central Cairo. Is it conceivable that an Egyptian protestor was struggling to return to his house, whilst detained Hamas members managed to flee at such speed to Gaza, from the middle of Egypt? It is even more surprising that escaped Hezbollah members arrived in Beirut’s southern suburbs, or anywhere in Lebanon for that matter, at such a speed, especially considering that there are no adjacent borders between Egypt and Lebanon!

It is true that the Egyptians are facing a long list of priorities right now, the most important of which is to get their own house in order, and restore organization to the Egyptian state at all levels, whether political, economic, and of course social, days after the storm. Yet there is also the urgent priority of dealing with internal security. The Egyptians demand to know what happened on the day when security collapsed in their country. There must be both an investigation and verification, regarding the extent of foreign groups’ interference into Egyptian security. How were Hamas and Hezbollah able to facilitate the escape of their prisoners, fleeing abroad with such speed and ease, whilst Egyptian prisoners could not do the same? This is not an easy operation at all! The Egyptians should not be concerned with lodging accusations at the moment, but what is even more important now is to get a grip on security, and take note of the wolves circling around Egypt, whether they are states or militia groups.

As I mentioned above, the Hamas warning to Egyptians today, namely that Egypt’s problems must not spread to Gaza, is a humorous one, but we do not know whether to laugh or cry. We must remember, and be aware of the fact that there is often disinformation in our region, as a result of certain media and states. Groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas are not only deepening the concept of division in our region and countries, they are part of the problem, not the solution.