Egypt blames Hamas

02.04.09

Further evidence of the increasing antagonism between Iran-backed Hamas and the Arab nations, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak publicly blamed Hamas for bloodshed in Gaza:

“How long will Arab blood continue to be spilled, only to hear those who admit to miscalculating the scope and scale of Israel’s response?” Mubarak asked in a speech marking Egypt’s national day to honor its police force.

Mubarak’s comment came in reference to remarks reportedly made by Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, who admitted at the end of the three-week Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that he did not anticipate the scope of Israel’s operation. Similar sentiments were expressed by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at the end of the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

Mubarak went on to say that resistance movements must take responsibility over the welfare of their people. “The resistance must take into account victories and losses. It is responsible for the people, who in turn should settle the score [with the resistance] over the gains it has achieved, but also the sacrifices, the pain and the destruction it has caused,” he said.

The split in the Middle East is heating up, with the rival Palestinian factions serving as proxies, as usual:

The Egyptian president also hinted that Hamas and other militant Palestinian factions are serving the Iranian agenda in the region, especially since the fighting in Gaza ended. “They are trying to take advantage of Israeli aggression to force a new reality on the current Palestinian and Arab situation. A new reality that will alter the equation and reorganize the balance in favor of known regional powers and will serve their agenda,” Mubarak said. His comment came in response to Meshal’s recent calls for the establishment of an alternative Palestinian body, to rival Fatah in representing the Palestinian people.

It’s not much of a secret that there’s no love lost between Hamas and Egypt, which supports Fatah in the factional struggle. Mubarak is appealing to the EU and the international community to try and maintain the regional balance of power. But analysts speculate this could be costly for him at home, where the extremist Muslim Brotherhood (from which Hamas is an offshoot) could make political gains in Egypt at Mubarak’s expense. The peace between Israel and Egypt has always been chilly and fragile, and it’s looking shakier than ever.

As for Israel? As long as Palestinian factions gain popular support by being perceived as the toughest against Israel, Israeli citizens will continue to pay the price for this power struggle.

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