Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Who Taught You to Be Wise Mishal? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Let us sum up the main points of the speech given by Khaled Mishal last Thursday in Damascus; he accepted a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and reconciliation with Fatah, and he welcomed President Obama’s speech in Cairo as well as dialogue with the Americans.

But what’s changed so much that the Hamas leader altered his position, especially considering the fact that what he has accepted is the same as what was offered four years ago? Hamas always responded [to the offer] in an extreme manner and by accusing people of treachery, and at times it has even given the Israelis excuses to escape achieving any progress.

The positive political changes that have taken place today are not Hamas’ doing. The movement has not had a hand in these changes – such as Obama’s rise to power or the discourse that he uses – in any way. Even the events taking place in Iran have not come about because the Iranian regime has suddenly woken up; these events are occurring because the nation has told the regime it has had enough of these games.

Before the situation in Iran, the results of the Lebanese elections need to be addressed. These results showed that Tehran could not save Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and his aides in Lebanon despite any attempts to do so, except of course the political rapprochement between Syria and the Arabs, and Damascus and Washington.

Mishal’s moderation, or the resorting to political rationality, has not come about as a result of the experiences he has encountered; it stems from the reality he himself imposed. The Gaza siege is yet to be lifted and the impact of Israel’s war on Gaza is still felt, never mind the fact that the people there are still waiting for promises to be fulfilled.

We must take note of an important issue here; the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine announced that it has no money. This might be an indication of what’s in store for Hamas in the upcoming period as it seems that the official sponsor of these groups, i.e. Iran, has not made any payments [to them] for a while.

Therefore, we, as Arabs of course, must be certain of Hamas’ and especially Khaled Mishal’s intentions so as to ensure that we are not being tricked by Hamas in order for it to buy time thus wasting efforts that have been made. In particular this refers to the efforts exerted in Egypt towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation, especially as these efforts follow inter-Arab wrangling in which there is a willingness to use money and other things merely to cause destruction.

The other matter that is of equal importance is that all indications suggest that there is real disagreement between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House.

Discussions now focus on the fact that disagreement between Netanyahu and the Obama administration cannot last long as it could lead to the collapse of the Prime Minister’s government soon. Therefore, we must not provide Netanyahu with any excuse to escape achieving any progress.

This is something that we have seen time and again from the Arab side for a simple reason; the Palestinian Cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of the Iranian regime and its aides, with the participation of Mishal, for a long time. Therefore, we hope that Hamas will comprehend the matter and will insist on taking a rational position, even if it is just once, on the condition that there will be no false heroes or rocket tanks that will alleviate the pressure Washington is putting on Netanyahu.

Today we do not know if Mishal’s comments came as a result of delayed and accumulated wisdom or if it is the wisdom of a sly fox that has learnt from its past experiences.

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.

More Posts