Hamas is struggling to set a line – and remain silent in the meantime – as the crisis in Egypt plays out. The Iran-backed terror group is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which until yesterday was in control of the Egyptian government, and the links have created tension between Hamas and the Egyptian army. Last month an Egyptian court held that that in 2011, Brotherhood members had conspired with both Hamas and the Shiite extremist group Hezbollah to storm a prison where Brotherhood leaders, including Mohamed Morsi, were being held.
Those tensions now threaten to explode in the aftermath of the army’s actions against the Brotherhood. And so Hamas is seeming determined to stay very quiet:
Hamas has issued a clear statement to all its leadership and members not to talk about the details of what is happening in Egypt, limiting their statements to “express their sympathy and hope that Egypt might emerge peacefully from this current crisis, as the movement does not want to interfere in Arab domestic affairs, and so the Egyptian opposition does not use the movement’s stances and statements to their advantage.”
China’s Xinhua news agency bumped into the policy:
Hamas officials on Monday declined to comment on the situation in Egypt, where millions of people took to streets calling on Morsi to quit, saying it is an Egyptian internal affair. When Morsi was elected as the president of Egypt, Hamas supporters, officials and militants rallied in the Gaza Strip to celebrate the “victory of the MB movement.”
Of course Hamas has a comfort zone in which its writers are still allowed to operate. At least one Hamas-run outlet has definitively identified Jews as the source of Egyptian unrest. Blogger Elder of Ziyon translated commentary from Filastin:
What is happening on the land of Egypt is an intercontinental conspiracy, and the results go beyond the borders of Egypt, to affect the Arab Middle East as a whole, this is not only an Egyptian affair but Arabic and Islamic, which has an effect on each region. Israeli Knesset member Ben-Eliezer when he spoke to Israel Radio, said: “Egyptian society was a secular society with songs, movies and tourism, and suddenly someone comes along trying to turn the clock back by 400 years.”
The Jews have lost this bet, and the Zionists lost the battle in Egypt, because the Egyptian society is a Muslim society that lives on dignity and chivalry and has high motivations, a community that clings to Arab morals, and is proud of its place of leadership in Islamic history, and is pouring all his energies to the next stage. Egypt will triumph, and will emerge from the crisis, and move beyond the trap installed by Jews towards Arabs and Muslims on the land of Egypt… Egypt will not retreat backwards again, and will not put Zionist restrictions on its wrist again.
Hamas was formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Cairo-based parent organization tends to see the smaller movement as its Palestinian wing. Last year, fleeing Syria’s civil war, Hamas moved its headquarters from Damascus to Cairo to what it expected would be a supportive environment under a Brotherhood-led government. Wednesday’s events in Egypt will likely force Hamas to revisit those assumptions.
[Photo: Kodak Agfa / Flickr]