November 20, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 5061

Arab Columnists Criticize Firing Of Rockets From Gaza As Reckless Escapade Serving Iran, Not Palestinians

November 20, 2012
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 5061

Alongside the official Arab condemnations of Israel's attack on Gaza, and the popular protests against it in some of the Arab countries, there has also been criticism against Hamas. This criticism is mainly voiced in the countries of the moderate Arab camp (headed by the Gulf states, the PA and elements in Egypt), which opposes the resistance camp (headed by Iran, Syria and Hizbullah).

The critics claimed that Hamas's rocket attacks on Israel are reckless and ineffective, and do nothing but give Israel an excuse to attack Gaza. Many also accused Iran of exploiting the Palestinian cause and of igniting the entire region in order to demonstrate its strength, improve its position in its nuclear negotiations, and draw attention away from the crisis in Syria.

The following are excerpts from some of the articles:

Kuwaiti Columnist: Hamas Is A Terrorist Organization

'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq, a columnist for the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, harshly condemned the double standard of some in the Arab media, who call Hamas's actions "resistance" or "jihad" and Israel's response "aggression," and added that Hamas is a terrorist organization killing innocent people. He wrote: "When terrorist organizations, including Hamas, fire mortars and rockets from the Gaza strip on cities in the Israeli south and kill innocent women and children, the misleading media call it 'resistance' or 'refusal' or 'jihad operations,' but when Israel attacks these organizations' military and security installations inside the Gaza Strip in order to stop this terroristic firing of mortars and rockets, the media call Israel's self-defense 'aggression.' These media outlets continue to discriminate and to call things by false names. They call the Israeli victims 'casualties' while Palestinian victims in the Gaza Strip are called 'martyrs.' These media outlets do not hesitate to deceive when they call Hamas's attacks on innocent civilians in Israel's southern cities 'a right of the Palestinian resistance and jihad movements,' while calling Israel's defense of its people 'the Israeli occupation army's aggression towards Gaza.'

"The terrorist group Hamas has started a confrontation with the Israeli army that it cannot end. After they process the horror of the Israeli response, the Hamas leaders will say what the Persian terrorist, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, said: If I knew the Israeli response would be this severe, I would not have provoked it."[1]

Saudi Columnist: Hamas's Rockets Give Israel An Excuse To Attack Gaza

Saudi columnist Turki Al-Dakhil, who was one of the first to criticize Hamas, wrote in the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh that this movement was recklessly endangering the lives of Palestinian civilians and providing Israel with excuses to attack Gaza. He stated, first of all, that criticizing the resistance movement did not mean supporting Israel, and pointed out that, in 2006, some people had "opposed the actions of Hizbullah and accused it of being reckless in attacking Israel." He added: "Imagine [what would happen] if Somalia fired rockets on Italy. [The latter's] response would surely be decisive, considering the disparity of force between the two sides."

Al-Dakhil continued: "Hamas is not immune from error. It makes many mistakes, which make it easier for Israel to commit crimes against it and which provide Israel with many pretexts to attack Gaza. This has occurred several times [in the past], and it is happening again today. Hamas’s escapades are placing Palestinian lives in danger. We know Israel is a criminal tyrant, but why do we give it an internationally[-accepted] excuse to retaliate? Why is Hamas [helping] Israel to seem like an oppressed country in the eyes of the world?...

"We [Arabs] need not give Israel justification to act, according to the reasoning of the international [community], by firing missiles that are essentially harmless and of poor quality… Had Hamas been strong, and Hizbullah even stronger, we would not have rebuked them for what they do, because these are their decisions and their wars, and it is their business. But escapades that endanger the lives of Lebanese or Palestinian [civilians] are a great mistake – mistake we repeat once or twice every year, without learning a lesson... We support the Palestinian people and pray that Allah take pity on it and spare it the evil [brought upon it by] the leaders of some of its factions even before the evil of its enemies..." [2]

Columnists: Violence Is Not The Answer, Considering Israel's Superior Strength

Hamada Fara'na, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, wrote: "[The fact that] Hamas's rockets, modest as they may seem, reach Israeli towns causes [us] to arrogantly deceive ourselves [that we possess] the ability to harm the enemy. They create the illusion that ongoing armament would create a balance of terror between us and the enemy, as Hizbullah's rockets did in the past, and as the missiles of the martyr Saddam Hussein did before them."[3]

In his column in the government Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, Muhammad bin 'Abd Al-Latif Aal Al-Sheikh wrote: "The solution is 'the option of peace' and not violence. These rockets that Hamas is raining down on Israel are not only primitive and militarily ineffective, but also serve [Israel's] interests in the [final] profit/loss calculation, give it a pretext to go far in its violent response, and force the international community to remain silent while Israel obliterates all in Gaza, and even to stand by it. This is evident from the White House statement on the recent Israeli operations. The Israelis would not have dared to launch such an operation without first meticulously calculating all their options and ensuring that it would be politically fruitful..."[4]

Egyptian Columnists: Hamas's Actions Have Devastating Consequences

Gamal Al-Ghitani, editor of the weekly culture supplement of the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, claimed in an article that Hamas's policy is never intended for the good of the Palestinian interest, and expressed fear that this policy would be used by Israel as a pretext to occupy Sinai: "There is nothing that makes our hearts bleed like the pictures of the martyrs killed in Gaza as a result of Israeli fire and the mistakes of Hamas, which hijacked the [Gaza] Strip and its residents and forced them to accept its control and the control of its allies, in order to carry out a worrying policy that caused dire results. The most dangerous [result] is transforming the Palestinian cause from a national cause based on land and people to a religious issue...

"Hamas's plans... are never meant to benefit Palestine and the Palestinian cause. On the contrary, they grant a golden opportunity to the Israeli extremists to initiate a war against the defenseless Palestinian people... Hamas and its dangerous policy... place the entire homeland under a threat, the most minimal devastating consequence of which would be granting Israel a pretext to invade Sinai and recapture it in response to military operations launched from Sinai by factions associated with jihad organizations like Al-Qaeda and with [organizations] linked to Hamas... We must act wisely and reconcile the national and pan-Arab interests."[5]

Ibrahim 'Issa, editor of the independent Egyptian daily Al-Dustour Al-Asli wrote: "It is our human, religious, and national duty to support the Palestinian people in Gaza without any bargaining. Avoiding [this duty] is a weakness and a disgrace. Notice that I call [to support] the Palestinian people – not Hamas – since Hamas's decisions can sometimes be useful and correct, but can sometimes be disastrous for the people... This is a movement that has not conducted new elections to demonstrate the people's consent or opposition to its policy, [even though] seven years have passed since the elections [that brought it to power], which were the first and last [elections it ever won]..."[6]

Columnists: Gaza Is A Pawn On Iran's Chessboard

'Adel 'Abd Al-Rahman, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote: "Clearly, Hamas wants to exploit the blood of the martyrs, the missiles that have reached Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Jerusalem, and the arrival of the Arab solidarity delegations – the [delegations headed by] the Egyptian prime minister and the Tunisian foreign minister, as well as the official Arab delegation headed by the Arab League secretary-general – to achieve its narrow sectarian goals, without consideration for the dangers that beset the Palestinian people in Gaza. Furthermore, [Hamas Political Bureau head] Khaled Mash'al, who is the most realistic and reasonable of Hamas's leaders, and Dr. Ramadan Shalah, head of the [Islamic] Jihad movement, are negotiating with Israel via the Egyptian leadership, even though [Mash'al] has no influence on the Hamas leaders inside Gaza and [Shalah] has close ties with the jihad [movements] and with Iran, and as such, is controlled by [Iran's] decisions and orientations. For [Iran], the war in Gaza is like a gift from heaven, because it has forced Israel to focus its attention on the Gaza front and to put the issue of Iran's nuclear program on the backburner. Some might argue that Obama gave Netanyahu and his government permission to crush the resistance in Gaza [just] in order to appease [Netanyahu] and keep him from launching a war in Iran, even if [the war on Iran is delayed] only for a short while..."[7]

Lebanese journalist Khayrallah Khayrallah wrote on the liberal website that the Gaza war is a result of Iran's wish to demonstrate its control over Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood. The hope that Iran and Egypt would come to the Palestinians' rescue, he said, only reflects the breakdown of the Arabs' powers of reasoning:

"The Palestinian people and their cause are nothing but a bargaining chip for Iran. Sadly, some Palestinians believe that Iran is on their side and that it will [help them] get back Jerusalem. Some Palestinians also believe today that Egypt can be counted upon to start a new war in the region, when Egypt... [actually] has other worries having to do with overcoming its deep political, economic and social crisis...

"The Palestinians still dream that some Arabs and Iranians will leap to their rescue. They do not understand that the Iranian missiles in their possession are merely a tool – [a means] by which Iran can [demonstrate] that it has the first and last word in Gaza and that it controls key parts of the Hamas movement, as well as some small [Gazan] organizations...

"This is a breakdown of Arab reasoning, which fails to grasp that the war currently raging [in Gaza reflects] Iran's desire to show the Arabs that it can use the Muslim Brotherhood to realize its goals... Can we say to the desperate Palestinian, who praises the missiles being fired from Gaza, that the only consequence of the war is to draw attention away from the crimes being committed by the Syrian regime against its people? Can we say to all concerned that Iran wants to show the world that it has control over Gaza, that it can cause missiles to be fired on Israel whenever it wishes, and that the Muslim Brotherhood is not outside its grasp, [so] it can exploit it whenever it pleases, regardless of the influence the Egyptians and others have in Gaza?..."[8]

Egyptian journalist 'Imad Al-Din Adib wrote an article titled "Look For Iran In All That Happens" in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He stated: "Iran plays a devastating role in the Arab arena while exploiting the regional tensions during the Arab Spring revolutions in order to heat up the region and harass Tel Aviv and Washington, which could eventually lead them to agree to negotiate with Iran on Iran's own terms... The Iranians follow a simple philosophy: 'Start a fire in the region until the world complains about the flames and [world leaders] come to you asking for your intervention. Then you can bargain with them and receive what you want'...

"Iran wants [to bargain for] three main things: recognition of its nuclear capabilities, not its manufacturing of a bomb; the lifting of the trade and economic embargo; and the restoration of its [relations with the world] and admission into the international community on all levels...

"The countries burned by the fire Iran started now see it as the 'Great Satan,' which ignites the fires of tension in the region... We are [merely] a pawn on the Iranian chessboard, and Iran does not care if the region is set on fire, if its economy is ruined, or if everyone is standing on the brink of a devastating war."[9]


[1] Al-Watan (Kuwait), November 17, 2012.

[2] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), November 18, 2012.

[3] Al-Ayyam (PA), November 18, 2012.

[4] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), November 18, 2012.

[5]Al-Akhbar (Egypt), November 17, 2012.

[6] Al-Dustour Al-Asli (Egypt), November 18, 2012.

[7]Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), November 19, 2012.

[8], November 19, 2012.

[9]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 20, 2012.

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