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Why Not Condemn Hamas? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The King of Jordan and President of Egypt’s participation in the US-sponsored peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis – launched recently in Washington – side by side with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, means that there is genuine Arab support for this peace process, and therefore comprehensive support of Mahmoud Abbas.

Whilst Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s meeting with US Peace Envoy George Mitchell on Thursday in Damascus means that the Syrians are getting involved in the negotiations in one way or another. America’s desire to involve Syria in the negotiations is something that Asharq Al-Awsat previously revealed; this is something that Damascus did not deny, although Syria also did not want to officially comment on this to our newspaper at the time. All of this indicates that Syria, while not announcing a genuine desire to join the negotiations, have also not announced a hostile position towards this, and are following the Arab course, in one way or another, in supporting the peace process that is currently taking place,

Therefore the question here is; who is supporting Hamas’s position that is seeking to sabotage the ongoing peace negotiations that are taking place in the region? Is it the Syrians, for example, in order to strengthen their position in the event that they join the peace negotiations? Or is it Iran, whose position rejecting the negotiations reached the point of insulting the Palestinian President? Or is the entire story that Hamas wants to be the negotiator, in other words the party acknowledged to be in power, and thus brought to the negotiating table, and is therefore sabotaging the negotiations in accordance with the [Arab] proverb “Either I’m involved, or forget it?”

Regardless of Hamas’s position, this means that the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group is harming the Palestinian Cause, and the entire region. Hamas, whether this is the Syrian arm of the group that is located in Damascus, or the arm that is located in Gaza, refrained from firing rockets into Israel over the past two years, so why is Hamas firing rockets today? Hamas has openly tried to court Washington a number of times [over the past two years], so what has changed today for the group to return to firing rockets?

Therefore in order to strengthen the international position that supports the Palestinian position, and thereby bring about the birth of a Palestinian State as well as ensure that the critical Arab position towards Israel’s settlement policy is taken seriously, the Arabs must participate [in the peace process] and announce a clear condemnation of the futile actions that Hamas have undertaken since the re-launching of the US-sponsored peace process. All the Arabs today are aware that the only genuine solution to the conflict with the Israelis is through continuing the negotiations and concluding the peace process. Iran has not fought in any wars in defense of Hamas or Gaza, not to mention the Palestinian Cause; Damascus has not fired one bullet in defense of this either, while it does not seem that Hassan Nasrallah is as concerned with this issue as much as he is with strengthening Hezbollah’s grip on the Lebanese State, in order to proclaim Lebanon a state affiliated to the Iranian Wali al-Faqih [Guardian of the Jurists], along the lines of what some in Iraq are also trying to do today.

Therefore, there must be a decisive Arab stance towards Hamas in order to put things in perspective, and in order to strengthen the position of Mahmoud Abbas at the negotiations.

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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