Politics

Hamas To Blame For Violence In Gaza, Influential Saudi Official Says

| by Jared Keever

The influential former head of Saudi intelligence said over the weekend that Hamas was responsible for “the crimes Israel has committed in the Gaza Strip.”

The Algemenier reports Turki al Faisal made the widely publicized comments during a Sunday interview with the pan-Arab, London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip following its bad decisions in the past, and the haughtiness it shows by firing useless rockets at Israel, which contribute nothing to the Palestinian interest. The Hamas rockets pose no threat to the Israeli occupation, even when they reach Tel Aviv,” he is quoted as saying.

The comments come on the heels of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah’s recent condemnation of the fighting between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza as “collective massacre.”

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The Associated Press points out King Abdullah stopped short of blaming Israel for the blood shed.

Such silence in terms of blaming Israel for the violence was recently described as “deafening” by Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator. Miller said in a recent New York Times story that Israel has managed to garner at least tacit approval among Arab states for its offensive against Gaza that has now killed more than 1,800 Palestinians.

The remarks from Faisal and King Abdullah seem to indicate that Saudi Arabia has joined the loose coalition of Arab states that includes Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. 

“I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas,” Miller said.

Most experts believe the shift against Hamas was brought about by the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. Morsi’s government had typically moderated talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. The new government in Cairo has been willing to do so as well, but the recent cease-fire proposal offered up by Egypt met nearly all of Israel’s demands and hardly any of Hamas’. 

That shift has proved troublesome for Hamas, the more militant and extreme faction of the Palestinian leadership. Hamas rejected the cease-fire proposal but Egypt has stood firm, stating that the current proposal must be the starting point for any further talks.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu,” Miller said of the shift in support towards Israel.

Sources: The Algemenier, ABC News (AP Story)

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