Regional powers want Hamas weakened, says expert

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
4 Min Read

Mubarak calls for Palestinian infighting to end

CAIRO: As recent fighting between Palestinian factions continues, regional and international support for Fatah over the elected Hamas is the reason behind the tenuous hold of the unity government, Waleed Kazziha professor of political science at the American University in Cairo told The Daily Star Egypt

Egypt has been the main arbitrator between Fatah and Hamas amid all the turmoil in Palestine recently and maintains a permanent security presence in the Gaza strip.

However, recent press reports stated that 500 trained Fatah soldiers entered Gaza City from the Egyptian border during the recent outbreak of fighting.

“Egypt trained Abu Mazen’s security guards and as the news reported recently, 500 soldiers entered Gaza from Egypt. Why do you let them enter now? said Kazziha.

According to Kazziha, while there are forces that support the unity government, there are also regional and international forces that are feeding the infighting.

“The aim is to eradicate Hamas and remove it from politics, he said, citing for example US funding of Fatah against Hamas.

“Today there are two groups that worry the US and Israel, and they are Hezbollah and Hamas, Kazziha said, “moderate Arab states also want Hezbollah weakened. For example, Saudi Arabia brokered the unity government agreement in Mecca but since then, they have offered no support to it.

“There is the same aim with Hamas, however it is not as crystallized as with Hezbollah, Kazziha continued, “but regional powers are uncomfortable with Hamas.

He also said that Hamas does not have the same regional support as Hezbollah, who have clear allies in Iran and Syria.

President Hosni Mubarak phoned Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas Thursday to urge him to put a stop to the recent spate of Palestinian infighting which has claimed 40 lives and wounded 100 since Sunday as Fatah-Hamas clashes continue to rage.

Egyptian diplomats are attempting to broker yet another ceasefire between Fatah and Hamas and Mubarak urged the Palestinians to cooperate. Stating that the “spilling of Palestinian blood is taboo, Mubarak called on “all Palestinian factions to cooperate.

As to why Palestinians have allowed external influences to impact them to such an extent and why they have not banded together instead of becoming divided, Kazziha said that the conditions within the occupied territories helped make this happen.

“Regional factors have entered the situation and you can’t separate the inside from the outside. We are people like any other people. We are exposed to certain political conditions. The unity of the people has been divided and these political differences have been appropriated. There are also interests, Kazziha said.

He added: “Palestinians are under siege and in poverty. One man sold his two daughters in Gaza recently. Israel has stolen Palestinian money and is still keeping it. Israel has also become involved in the fighting and the Israeli Defense Forces conducted an air strike against a Hamas compound in Gaza Thursday which killed one and injured 45.

Hamas’ military wing spokesman Abu Obaida sent a text message to reporters in which he warned that suicide attacks are being considered. “The Zionist enemy are launching an open war against Hamas, he said, “therefore, reprisal options are open, including self-sacrifice operations.

“We advise the Zionist settlers to go immediately to the basement of their residence because our rockets will not spare any of them, Abu Obaida added.

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