Hassan Haidar
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas - like Hezbollah, the other devout follower of the Syrian and Iranian regimes - is an expert at changing notions and truths, and using words in a manner that is contrary to their definition. Hence, simply staying alive becomes a "victory"; the increase in the number of deaths and injuries becomes the ability to "resist"; "scratching" the Israeli cities with a few rockets becomes a "strategic balance", and the lack of readiness for battle and of surveillance of the enemy's intentions, as well as being surprised by the extent of the enemy's response become "betrayal". It must be noted that Hamas has accused Israel of betrayal ever since the beginning of the conflict between them, but has not made a priority of taking its precautions against it. Slogans that praise genocide and death turn into a political program for the future, the rational becomes an "enemy", the intermediary a "swindler", and the international community a "conniver".
It is why Khaled Mashal reassures "loved ones that resistance in Gaza is doing fine, its infrastructure is unharmed, and has only registered very slight losses" - as if all the destruction, the dead and the wounded who cannot get access to treatment do not enter in the calculations of Hamas, which is forcefully holding the Gaza Strip's fate in its hands. Hamas was not even embarrassed to pursue the Fateh fighters and return them to prison after their detention place was destroyed by Israeli bombing. If Hamas is indeed doing fine as its leader claims, then why all this racket, protest, and accusations?
Mashal reveals his movement's objective behind ending the truce that led to starting the current war when he assures his readiness to participate in a new passageways agreement. In other words, he wants to continue the turnaround that led to the exclusion of the National Authority from Gaza. He also wants Arab and international recognition of Hamas as a party separate from the authority, i.e. imposing the Palestinian duality as an inalienable fact and prompting the world to accept it, in addition to thwarting any dialogue aiming at restoring national unity under the pretext of "avoiding side battles since the priority is to stop the aggressions."
This explains the violent campaign on Egypt by Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other parties of the "opposition" front. Cairo insists there is only one legitimate Palestinian authority in which Hamas can take part but not be separate from, since this would weaken the Palestinian and Arab sides in any potential solution. Moreover, Egypt precludes Israel's use of the Palestinian duality card to pressure Mahmoud Abbas's authority in the peace negotiations, since the Hebrew state finds in the Palestinian division, which it encourages, a justification for escaping obligations and avoiding international agreements and decisions.
In the same context, there is the call of the Palestinian factions after their meeting in Damascus yesterday to "stop the discussion of the Arab peace initiative in international circles", under the pretext that "it is being exploited by the forces that oppose the right of return and the national Palestinian rights". This twisted logic that appears directly after the arrival of the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, to Damascus and his meeting with Palestinian leaders, is also another aspect of Hamas's turnaround - after the Arab initiative was firmly gaining ground and more international support. It is also a counterattack that might count among its targets the new US administration, with the intended message that the region's "future" is in the hands of other parties it has to negotiate with.


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