In a recent TV debate, Dr. Muhammad Al-Shtayyeh, a Fatah leader in Cairo, and Ashraf Abu Al-Houl, deputy editor-in-chief of "Al-Ahram", argued over the achievements that Hamas had claimed following the Gaza war.
The debate was broadcast on the Egyptian ON TV channel on August 28, 2014.
Following are excerpts from a debate on Hamas achievements in the Gaza war, which aired on ON TV on August 28, 2014:
Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh Fatah leader in Cairo: The victory can be attributed to the Palestinian people, who persevered for 51 days in the face of the Zionist war machine, which declared right from the start that it had specific objectives that would be achieved by this aggression against Gaza. The war ended, but these Israeli goals had not been accomplished.
Interviewer: What was achieved after 51 days, more than 2,000 martyrs, and tens of thousands of wounded and displaced people?
Al-Ahram deputy editor-in-chief Ashraf Abu Al-Houl: Nothing. With all due respect to the slogans of my colleague here, the situation is extremely bad. This is a shameful loss, unparalleled in the history of the Palestinian people. The steadfastness of the people was indeed, a victory, but at what price?
Approximately one third of the population has been displaced, and nobody knows whether their homes will be rebuilt. Some 12,000 have been wounded, and many will remain crippled for life. Some 2,000 were martyred.
What was the goal at the beginning of this war? We all believed that Israel had started this war, but, unfortunately, Saleh Al-'Arouri, one of the leaders of Hamas, declared on August 20, at the IUMS meeting in Istanbul: "We kidnapped the three settlers in Hebron, and we killed them." Thus, he gave the Israelis the justification…"
Interviewer: But this was denied…
Ashraf Abu Al-Houl: No, it wasn't. At first, Hamas denied this, but then Al-'Arouri said: "We kidnapped them, and we killed them." The war started on July 8, and on July 14, Egypt presented its ceasefire initiative. The number of martyrs had not reached 200, and there were fewer than 500 wounded. But the Egyptian proposal was rejected, and Egypt was badly humiliated. They said that they wanted Iran… or rather, Turkey and Qatar to mediate. The Americans jumped at the idea, and did not invite Egypt to the Paris meeting, but then it turned out that at that meeting, Qatar and Turkey had agreed to the disarming of the resistance.
Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh: With regard to the three settlers who were kidnapped, there was supposed to be an announcement that this was a fabrication, a figment of the imagination. The German radio reported that they had been kidnapped by settlers like them under criminal circumstances.
Interviewer: But there is no strong evidence of this…
Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh: There were reports that they were kidnapped under criminal circumstances. I believe that the statements by Hamas leaders claiming responsibility for this reflect their own personal opinion, not that of the Palestinian resistance. Perhaps, since the Israelis were trying to claim that they had won the war, Palestinian factions responded by claiming responsibility for the kidnapping.