Hamas’s deeply troubling stance regarding Hezbollah

Rather than lecturing other Arabs, Hamas should focus on making life easier for those under its care in Gaza.

2018/01/07 Issue: 138 Page: 11

The Arab Weekly
Tallha Abdulrazaq

Saudi Arabia has per­suaded most of the 22 members of the Arab League to declare the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. Lebanon and Iraq, countries almost totally controlled by Hezbollah’s benefactor Iran, snubbed the meeting but it was not enough to douse a motion condemning the group.

Hezbollah supplied the Yemeni rebel group the Houthis with an Iranian-made rocket that they fired at a civilian airport in Riyadh in early November, the latest in a long line of provocations in sup­port of violence by the Shia group.

Rather than stand in solidarity with the victims of Hezbollah’s violence, Musa Abu Marzouq, a senior member of the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, tweet­ed his condemnation of the vote. Abu Marzouq said: “Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation and if that categorisation continued then we [groups against Israel] will all be branded the same way. The stance of all [Arab states] should be to reorient the Arabian political compass towards Palestine and Jerusalem.”

Hamas issued a formal news release, stating that it “strongly rejects” the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organi­sation and that such a designation should “solely be handed down onto the Israeli occupation.”

The group blasted the decision to brand Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and lamented the move as something that would lead to further divisions.

Hamas’s stance regarding Hezbollah is deeply troubling and needs to be called out for its apparent support for an organi­sation that has been involved in the sectarian killing of hundreds of thousands. It is deeply trou­bling that Hamas says Israel is the entity that “solely” deserves to be described as terrorist. This gives a clear indication that the Palestin­ian group’s definition of terrorism is highly selective and minimises the suffering of those around the world who have faced great loss at the hands of ultra-nationalist, religious or other ideological ter­rorist groups.

Hamas’s credentials as an “Is­lamic” movement are also placed into doubt. One of the methods Hamas uses to garner internation­al support is marketing itself as “Islamic” compared to Fatah and other factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) that are nationalist or leftist in outlook. Drawing on an ideology rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s official name is the “Islamic Re­sistance Movement,” which tugs at the heartstrings of more than 1 bil­lion Muslims worldwide who view Palestine as sacred and holy land.

How can Hamas be described as Islamic when it is largely silent on what Hezbollah has done across the Arab and Islamic world?

Half a million Syrians have lost their lives and Hezbollah has played a key role in causing those deaths. In Iraq, millions of lives have been affected by Iran’s employment of Hezbollah as a template organisation that can train, equip and sometimes lead fellow Iraqi Shia jihadist groups. One need only look at the logos of these various organisations to see the iconic symbol of a hand clutching a Kalashnikov that be­longs to the Lebanese group and to feel Hezbollah’s influence.

Are these Arab civilians not considered “Islamic” enough to warrant Hamas’s sympathies or are Hamas’s vaunted religious morals and credentials expedi­tiously thrown out of the window when pragmatic considerations and loyalty to Iran are on the table? Hamas and its supporters should be ashamed of themselves for prioritising their suffering over that of countless millions of oth­ers across the region, whether in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia or Lebanon.

Hamas called upon Arabs to reorient their political compass to focus solely upon the Palestin­ian cause. There can be no doubt that the Palestinians have suffered under decades of Israeli oppres­sion but Hamas’s single-minded focus on Palestine at the expense of everyone else is madness and their propensity to declare anyone not with them as traitors to the Palestinian cause is despicable.

By Hamas’s calculus, it is per­fectly acceptable for it to work with Iran, a country that has single-handedly incinerated half of the Arab world, but anyone who disagrees with it or its methods is somehow a Zionist conspirator.

Rather than lecturing other Arabs, Hamas should focus on making life easier for those under its care in Gaza. Hamas should clamp down on the corruption within its own government and institutions, which are apparently “Islamic.”

Hamas also should focus on forging unity with the other Palestinian factions, rather than constantly playing a tit-for-tat game with them while hypocriti­cally denigrating other Arabs for being “divided.”

Finally, Hamas should live up to its claims of being Islamic and have the moral fibre to put its pragmatism aside and call Iran and Hezbollah out for their mass killings of fellow Muslims.

Until then, we can only say one thing: Shame on you, Hamas.

Tallha Abdulrazaq is a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute in England.

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