Amid the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas and the other Palestinian factions in Gaza, Iraqi journalist Sami Al-Badri published an article harshly critical of Hamas. Writing in the Iraqi daily Al-Zaman, Al-Badri wrote that Hamas had taken upon itself to launch a hopeless battle against Israel without any justification or authority, whose only outcomes will be death and destruction in Gaza. He added that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were not serving the interests of the Palestinians but were primarily interested in gaining "political, financial, personal and partisan profits" and in furthering the aims of Iran. The latest round of fighting, he concluded, was thus a political war fought with Iranian weapons and with "Palestinian hands and blood " that "had nothing to do with the Palestinians' right to their land."
Sami Al-Badri (Source: Al-Zaman, Iraq)
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
The Results Of The War Will Be Nothing But Death And Destruction For The People Of Gaza
"There is no doubt that every Palestinian and Iraqi is entitled to protest against the occupation of his country, and nobody has the right to rebuke or condemn a Palestinian or Iraqi for acting to liberate his country from the barbarity and oppression of the occupier. At the same time, no man and no small group in either of these countries has the right to take an independent decision to launch a war whose consequences were not [carefully] considered and whose damages exceed its benefits tenfold, for the sake of hidden goals or objectives, at the expense of the general public in both these countries.
"Regardless of the competence of the official Palestinian National Authority [the PA] in Ramallah, the disagreements with it or the objections [voiced by] some elements against it – this authority is [still] the sole official representative of the Palestinian people, which is authorized to make decisions on its behalf and is officially recognized by the countries of the world and by the UN. So why does the Hamas organization – which is just a small faction – have the right to take a decision to go to war on behalf of an entire people, instead of the official government?
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"No one disputes that the Palestinian people face injustice and oppression by the Israeli occupation forces and tyranny and daily violations by the Zionist settlers. But this does not grant the small Hamas faction the right to start a war with the occupation state in the name of the Palestinian people, in place of the official, legitimate authority, especially considering that the results of the war will be nothing but the death of Palestinians and the destruction of their cities, and more acts of oppression and abuse by the occupation forces.
"As an external observer on the level of a commentator, it is my right to wonder: What is the official status of the Hamas organization? And how and why, and by virtue of what authority or legal-constitutional standing, does it disconnect the Gaza Strip from [the rest of] the Palestinian territories and from the PA in order to rule it alone and assume exclusivity over the [Palestinian] decision to start a war on behalf of the residents [of Gaza], and in place of the official authority ruling their state, whose capital is Ramallah?"
Hamas Serves Agendas That Are "Diametrically Opposed To The Interests And National Rights Of The Palestinian People"
"We know from the facts on the ground that even before the 2014 war, the decisions of Hamas and of its military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, were no longer a purely Palestinian, but had started to be influenced by [Hamas's] foreign relations with various Arab and non-Arab elements, each of which is trying to exploit [Hamas] in accordance with its political agenda and ideology. [These agendas] are diametrically opposed to the interests and national rights of the entire Palestinian people, and also of the part that was severed [from the rest of Palestinian people] when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and transformed it into a state in itself, beyond the control, will and decision of the official Palestinian authority. What did the Palestinians in Gaza gain from Hamas's war in 2014 that would make them want to gain it again in the [Hamas] war of May 2021? Is it hundreds of unarmed civilians dead, their houses destroyed over their heads, their livelihood lost, and, most importantly, additional arbitrary measures by the occupation forces, such as closures, isolation, detentions and harsher [restrictions] after Hamas ends its war in another defeat?
"The big problem that raises dozens of questions about Hamas's intentions, foreign relations and hidden objectives is the puzzling timing of the 2021 war, which coincided with the Palestinian uprising in [Jerusalem's] Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, whose non-violent heroes were achieving significant progress against the arrogance of the Zionist settlers and the terrorist government of Binyamin Netanyahu, especially vis-à-vis international public opinion and the official [international] organizations. Why then did Hamas choose this of all times to launch the Iranian missiles, and for whose benefit?...
"How many Israeli soldiers did the missiles of Isma'il Haniya and Khaled Mash'al kill, compared to [the number of] Palestinians crushed by the Zionist missiles in the Gaza Strip? How many public facilities and military ones were destroyed [in Israel], compared to [the number of] Gazan homes, buildings and sources of livelihood destroyed by the Israeli missiles? And most importantly, how many Gazans will be detained, and how much worse will the oppression and siege become, both inside Gaza and in the [border] crossings in and out of it?"
This Is An Iranian War, Has Nothing To Do With The Palestinians' Right To Their Land
"[Looking at] the map of the war in Gaza, [we are moved to ask]: Where are Isma'il Haniya and Khaled Mash'al? Why was neither of them killed? Why did neither of them lose a son, or even a distant relative, to the Israeli missiles? Why did no missile strike the homes of Haniya or Mash'al… so that the cameras of the satellite channel reporters could show them buried in the ground and trying to crawl out from under the rubble?
"This is an Iranian-Israeli war fought with Palestinian hands and blood. It is not a war for the Palestinian people's right to its land. It is a political war motivated by considerations and objectives aimed at maintaining the balance [of power] at the negotiations about the Iranian nuclear deal, which are currently underway in Vienna. [The war] has nothing to do with the Palestinians' right to their land or with the enterprise of establishing a state for the Palestinian people on their stolen soil. It is a war of Iranian militias fighting on behalf of the Iranian plan, so that Iran will be able to say, before the debate on the details of the Iranian nuclear dossier begins, that it has its own active and effective means to pressure America's foremost ally [namely Israel], as the Iranian leadership wants to do.
"As an observer, [I can say that,] the minute the leaderships of Hamas and the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad [PIJ] took their very first steps to separate themselves from the PA's official decision-making and even to gain independence in Gaza, I clearly saw that they did not mean to stop or even to take any interest in the effects of their separatism on the unity and clout of the Palestinian decision-making [authorities] that represent the Palestinian people vis-à-vis the occupation and the international community… The only thing that interests the leaderships [of Hamas and the PIJ] is realizing their political, financial, personal and partisan profits.
"This does not detract from the responsibility of Mahmoud 'Abbas and the other Fatah officials, who not only stubbornly cling to power but recently perpetrated an act of deception when they used a flimsy excuse to postpone the elections [to the Palestinian Legislative Council], in order to stay in power and maintain their exclusive control over the Palestinian decision-making and the fate of the [Palestinians] people. Hamas, which competes with Fatah for control of the Palestinian decision-making, uses [its] weapons to try and change the equation and seize the right to [conduct] negotiations – disregarding the fact that the decision [to use] its weapons, which are provided by [Iran], is a political one, and that it is therefore compelled to pay those who provided these weapons by taking [certain] positions and [waging] hopeless wars, and the war currently raging may not be the last of them."
 Al-Zaman (Iraq), May 18, 2021.