The West has long recognized that Hamas is a dangerous terrorist group. Increasingly pragmatic elements in the Middle East are starting to acknowledge the threat posed by this organization to the Palestinian cause.
The West has long recognized that Hamas is a dangerous terrorist group. Not only the US, but also the European Union, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan have officially listed Hamas as a terrorist organization. Increasingly, pragmatic elements in the Middle East are starting to acknowledge the threat posed by this organization.
One expression of this growing awareness can be found in the mainstream Arabic-language newspapers, which are printing ever more articles and editorials that are unsympathetic towards Hamas. Arab public opinion is starting to become conscious of the fact that Hamas is harmful to many basic interests of the Palestinian people.
Among the recurrent themes:
- Blaming Hamas for the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza;
- Attempting to provoke Israel into attacking Gaza;
- Condemning Iranian influence over Hamas;
- Protesting against Hamas plans to establish a Muslim caliphate in Gaza;
- Denouncing the Hamas coup against the Palestinian Authority.
The first two are often related – while the people in the Gaza Strip suffer from Israeli actions such as targeted air attacks and limiting two-way traffic at the check points, the authors blame Hamas for provoking the Israeli actions, which are recognized as being defensive. Some of these articles are reviewed below.
Hamas responsible for suffering in Gaza
Hazem Saghaya, a Lebanese journalist and commentator, published an article in, entitled "Gaza and the Cry of the Arabs," in which he criticizes Hamas for using children in the war against Israel.
Saghaya reviews the lack of official Arab reaction to Israeli activities in the Gaza Strip, in contrast to the reactions of the Arab public, and concludes that Islamic political movements have lost their influence in Arab society. Hamas, according to Saghaya, has contributed to the Islamization of the conflict and is responsible for pushing the conflict into its current anti-rational extremism.
Saghaya attacks Hamas for exploiting and sacrificing children for its own purposes: "Palestinian blood is spilled in Gaza at a cheap price …If we are sorry for the civilian and child sacrifices, we should be even angrier at Hamas for using children, just as Khomeini did during the war against Iraq, when he armed children with hand grenades and sent them to their deaths. Those who exploit this blood in order to shout ‘Where are the Arabs?’ are either lying to themselves, or lying to us as a way of promoting the plans of Iran and Damascus, and that is a crime" (Al-Hayat, a leading daily pan-Arab newspaper, 4 March 2008).
Hamas provocation of Israel causes suffering to the citizens in Gaza
Hilmi al-Ghul, political advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayadh, attacked Hamas for boasting of victory over Israel when hundreds of Palestinians had been killed as a result of Hamas’ actions: "What victory are they talking about? Do the massacre of [Palestinians] and the destruction of Gaza’s vital infrastructures count as a victory? Where is the victory in that? Over 120 [Palestinians] have been martyred, and over 300 have been wounded, while [on the Israeli side] only two or five have been injured. Is that a victory? Why doesn’t the Hamas leadership do a [simple] cost-benefit analysis?" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Palestinian Authority paper, 5 March 2008; translation by MEMRI)
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Palestinian Information Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki: At a Ramallah press conference following the Israeli military operation in Gaza (in response to Hamas escalation of rocket attacks (27 February – 3 March), Al-Maliki said, "As the force in charge of Gaza, Hamas must bear the responsibility for its citizens’ [wellbeing], and must not give Israel an excuse [to attack] by launching primitive rockets from Gaza. These rockets do not kill Israelis [but] accidentally hit Palestinians. They achieve the opposite of what is intended, causing hundreds of Palestinian civilians to be killed" (ASharq al-Awsat, Saudi daily paper published in London, 3 March 2008; translation by MEMRI).
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Dr. Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote that Hamas bears sole responsibility for the Palestinians’ plight in Gaza: "Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli attacks, triggered by the launching of a few Hamas rockets that [did no more than] wound one or two Israelis. [This prompts us] to ask: Is there anyone rational in this insane movement called Hamas? …
"I do not say this out of compassion or empathy for the Palestinians, for they are paying for the folly of following Hamas…The Palestinian people, whom Hamas has placed under siege in Gaza, have been reduced to begging Hamas for charity…This movement is not above stealing food from the mouths of the Palestinian people."
"The truth that the Palestinians refuse to see…is that their daily suffering – the deaths and wounding, the unemployment, and the power outages – are mostly [the result of] the arrogance of Haniyya and his movement… Hamas bears sole responsibility for the death of Palestinians [which is occurring] on a daily basis…In light of their insane insistence on launching improvised rockets [into Israel], they bear sole responsibility for the destruction of Gaza…" (Al-Siyassa, Kuwaiti daily, 1 March 2008; translation by MEMRI)
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In an article entitled ‘Who is responsible – Hamas or Israel’, journalist Abd a-Rahman a-Rashid finds that Hamas provocation of Israel has resulted in a terrible disaster for Gaza.
A-Rashid states that the balance of terror threatened by Hamas leader Khalid Mashal is nothing short of a farce, as Hamas is unable to successfully confront Israel militarily.
A-Rashid concludes that it is likely that the foolish behavior of Hamas will bring Israeli forces back into Gaza: "Hamas acted foolishly and harmed itself by giving the Israelis the opportunity to attack in retaliation for a few rockets, after committing a major crime against the Palestinian people by breaking away from the Palestinian Authority and seizing power (in Gaza). The Palestinians of Gaza have suffered a great deal due to Hamas’ behavior which will yet bring the Israelis back into Gaza after it had been liberated by the Palestinian forces" (Asharq al-Awsat, 21 January 2008).
Blaming Hamas and Iranian/Syrian influence
In his article, "The Right of Self-defense," Kuwaiti journalist Abdallah Alhadlaq writes, "After the escalation on the border with the Gaza Strip, where the terrorist (sic) Hamas rules, and from which they fired rockets and bombs on the town of Sderot and other towns for the purpose of killing innocent civilians, women, children and old people …Israel had no choice but to attack the terrorist organization Hamas in order to prevent it from firing rockets indiscriminately as far as Ashkelon. Israel has the right to pursue the terrorist Hamas leaders and, in so doing, upholds its right to defend itself."
Alhadlaq reiterates "Israel’s right to defend itself and its people and its sovereignty against Hamas, which is supported by the Persian regime militarily and financially." He also tells the international community "not to criticize Israel if it continues its fight against Persian terror committed by the terrorist Hamas as long as the latter, incited by Iran, continues launching rockets from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and other towns, and not to criticize Israel for using force to defend its citizens and its territory, even if this causes the total destruction of the terrorist Hamas, an organization that receives its orders from Teheran."
Alhadlaq ends the article, "And, as always, Israel will win despite its small size" (Al-Watan website, 6 March 2008).
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In an article entitled "This is what Hamas unjustly did to me," Muhamed Hashem is harshly critical of Hamas. Hashem, a Kuwaiti journalist, maintains that "the latest Palestinian round of blood-letting is the sole responsibility of Hamas and its Iranian and Syrian backers."
Muhamed Hashem further attacks Hamas: "Hamas today displays, artistically and joyfully, pictures of a Palestinian girl killed as a result of the Israeli attack, which came in response to Hamas’s missiles. They feel the same joy when an Israeli child is killed by their missiles."
"Hamas was truly elated when the calls by its sheikhs in the mosques – who have now been made government ministers – were put into practice, and the death toll among Gazan civilians was jacked up in order to embarrass the Palestinian Authority."
Muhamed Hashem turns an accusing finger at Iran and Syria and says, "It is a holiday for Hamas, since its objectives have been accomplished and money is flowing to it, after Syria and Iran conditioned their funding on escalation and killing. Between Hamas’s clamoring and the deaths of the innocent, no one will notice those countries who support Hamas [Iran and Syria], looking for ways to embarrass their rivals, at the expense of innocent lives. The six (sic) victims who died as a result of Hamas actions would say, ‘This is what Hamas has unjustly done to me.’"
Muhamed Hashem wishfully asks, "Will the residents of Gaza rise up against Hamas and its backers and send them scurrying like mice for cover, as happened to the remnants of Al-Qaeda in Iraq? This is what we wish for, for the sake of our people in Gaza" (Elaph website, 2 March 2008).
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In an article entitled ‘Who plunged Gaza into darkness’, Abdallah Alhadlaq strongly attacks Hamas, consistently labeling it a terrorist organization throughout the article, and firmly stating that Hamas alone is the real enemy of the Palestinian people, solely responsible for the misery of the civilian population in Gaza. "Terrorists attack Israel and let the people of Gaza pay the price, dressing them in mourning. The people of Gaza continue to suffer. It is clear there will be no progress in any peace talks without cutting the military, ideological, political, and financial ties between Hamas, the Persian [Iranian] entity in Teheran and the Baath regime of Damascus as well as the terrorist Hizbullah movement. The firing of missiles carried out by Persian orders against Israel must stop."
Abdallah Alhadlaq accuses Hamas of operating under orders from Teheran, as "an agent of the Persians [Iranians]", and of obstinately blocking any hope for peace in return for the millions of dollars the Iranian regime pours into Gaza.
Alhadlaq concludes by stating that "I think we owe an apology to the Israel army for using force against Hamas because it is the only language these terrorists understand!" (Al-Watan, 27 January 2008).
Syrian and Iranian influence
Columnist Nasser Al-‘Utaibi wrote, "Syria and Iran are pressuring Hamas to escalate the [fighting] with Israel prior to the Damascus summit. This has two goals: first, to divert the summit’s attention from the main issue – Lebanon’s rights, its independence, its sovereignty, and its freedom to elect its own president without pressure from Iran and Syria…. and second, to force the Arab leaders to attend the summit because Israel is perpetrating a massacre against the Palestinians…
"The Arab nation is tired of regimes and self-interested [parties] exploiting the Palestinian cause as a pretext for [waging] wars…All peoples are familiar with this exploitation of the [Palestinian] problem…They do nothing but [shout] high-flown slogans…and spend huge sums of money on weapons at the expense of the people’s wellbeing and quality of life.
"We feel sorry for the Palestinian people, which has fallen prey to the leaders in Damascus and Tehran…It pains us that innocent Palestinians are dying because of the stupidity of their leaders, who cleave to their positions [of power], pursue their own interests, and succumb to the [pressures of the] Iranian and Syrian regimes instead of looking after the interests of the Palestinian people…" (Al-Siyassa, Kuwaiti daily, 10 March 2008; translation by MEMRI)
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Journalist Abd a-Rahman Rashid, : Rashid sharply attacked Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and Syria in an article entitled "Damascus: Gaza at the expense of Lebanon." According to Rashid, Damascus is interested in prolonging the tensions in Lebanon, partly as a way of shifting attention away from the murder of Lebanese ex-PM Hariri and the possibility of a trial by an international court. Afraid that the upcoming Arab Summit will deal with issues that go against Syrian interests, Damascus is trying to hijack the Summit agenda by inciting the Arab street.
"Khaled Mashal, who manages Hamas by remote control from the Syrian capital," wrote Rashid, "didn’t hide his joy at seeing the confrontations with Israel reach such levels." Under Mashal’s influence, Hamas dragged Israel into a war that Hamas is only too happy to take part in. By exacerbating the Israel-Hamas confrontation, Damascus plans to downplay the Lebanese crisis at the Summit. Rashid ends his article by stating that Damascus’s message is that the women and children in Gaza will be the ones to pay the price of the Summit and of the political game (ASharq al-Awsat, March 2008).
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In his article, "The Right of Self-defense" (cited above), Abdallah Alhadlaq blames Iran for all of the troubles in the Middle East: "The common denominator for all of the troubles in the Middle East, such as the terrorist organization (sic) Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, and the terrorist Hizbullah’s attempts [to control] Lebanon, is the Persian entity in Teheran, which is known to finance the terrorist organizations."
"What would happen if terrorist organizations such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would acquire nuclear weapons? There is no doubt that [they] would try to force their extremist, fundamentalist regime on every human society and continue to sponsor terrorist organizations all over the world."
Alhadlaq believes there is still time to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and calls on the international community to stop Iran from carrying out its evil designs (Al-Watan website, 6 March 2008).
Hamas plans to establish a Muslim caliphate
In an article published on 23 September 2007, Al-Hayat looks at the Hamas coup d’etat and its disastrous consequences and finds that Hamas is continuing its path of destruction, fragmentation, and alienation, in effect acting against the interests of the people of Gaza.
Entitled "The question of the day – Why is Hamas demolishing the judiciary?", the writer states that "The political, security, social, economic and judicial policies of the leaders of the bloody coup in Gaza all indicate that they are following a consistent and preplanned program designed to establish a Moslem Caliphate in Gaza." This was confirmed by the arrest of leaders of the National Action in Gaza and the suspension of Attorney General Ahmad Al Mughni. A direct result of these actions is that legal institutions are paralyzed, and Gaza is in a state of chaos and anarchy.
The writer concludes, "These actions of Hamas reveal its mad course, and its unwillingness to stand by the people and its Authority. There is no choice but to isolate Hamas and so force it to recant and if possible rejoin the nation and its political system."
Abdullah Aalhadlaq, the Kuwaiti journalist, published an article on the Alwatan website that strongly criticizes both Hamas and Hizbollah for the massacre they perpetrated at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva on 6 March 2008.
On Sunday, 11 May, Abdullah Aalhadlaq strongly criticized the massacre of the young students on the Alwatan website, stating that "The barbaric slaughter of eight students at the religious center or yeshiva, whilst the students were participating in a religious ceremony, is the ugliest expression of extremist, inhumane terrorism advocated by the Hamas and Hizbollah terrorist organizations.
The same brutal and inhumane act of targeting students, women and children must cause the free world to comprehend this terrorism and the threats it represents, and realize the necessity of opposing it strongly, clearly and uncompromisingly".
Aalhadlaq states that while Israel put its armed forces on alert in reaction to the atrocity at Mercaz Harav, which in actual effect exposed the criminal intent of the perpetrators and their supporters, Israel at the same time continued its talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The terrorist attack, carried out by the axis-of-evil, Hamas and Hizbollah, with the blessings of the B’ath – Persian coalition in Damascus and Teheran, took place on the eve of the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region. The attack was unable to prevent the continuation of the talks between PM Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas.
Aalhadlaq holds the Syrian – Iranian alliance responsible for the crisis in the Middle East, especially for the presidency crisis in Lebanon and the failure of the peace talks between Israel and the Arab world, and in his opinion Israel will inevitably simultaneously attack Hamas and Hizbollah in order to prevent indiscriminate launching of rockets at Israeli cities, and to prevent wanton slaughter of Israeli women, children and the elderly.
In conclusion, Abdullah Aalhadlaq states that "It is impossible to link the murder of the yeshiva students to the unintentional killing of civilians in Gaza, as the massacre of the students at the yeshiva by an armed terrorist was a clear act of terror, while the unfortunate occurrence in Gaza was the result of the IDF response to Hamas terrorist attacks".