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Hamas Chief to Israel: Go Ahead, Bomb Iran

We’ve previously seen how everyone from Arab governments to lower-level Hamas officials have been signaling Israel that they’d have no problem if something “happened” to Iran’s nuclear program. Now Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has told the international media explicitly that the group will stay out of any Iranian conflict with Israel. Reports Reuters:

The Islamist movement Hamas will not let itself be dragged into a war against Israel if it attacks the nuclear facilities of Hamas ally Iran, Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday.

“Hamas is a Palestinian movement that acts within the Palestinian arena and it carries out its political and field actions in a way that suits the interests of the Palestinian people,” he said at his headquarters in the enclave.

All statements from Middle Eastern political actors must be taken with a healthy sprinkle of salt, but the mere fact that Haniyeh is willing to make such a public statement is telling. And there’s certainly reason to believe him: with the Gazan economic situation as precarious as it is, it’s quite plausible that Haniyeh and Hamas would seek to avoid confrontation with Israel.

Iran will be heartened by Hezbollah’s steadfast hatred of Israel (“Today we are not only able to hit Tel Aviv as a city but, God willing, we are able to hit specific targets in Tel Aviv and anywhere in occupied Palestine,” Hassan Nasrallah said recently), but the news from Hamas is bad for Tehran. Haniyeh’s pronouncement removes–or at least calls into question–one negative impact of a potential Israeli strike and diminishes Iran’s confidence in its ability to respond.

Worse, it shows just how far Hamas has drifted away from its unnatural relationship with Iran back to its Sunni roots; the religious movements helping to influence governments in Turkey and the Arab Middle East today are for the most part as anti-Iranian as the Israelis. Those who fund and support Hamas are singing all singing the song John McCain made famous: “Bomb Iran.”

Iran’s regional strategy was based on establishing itself as the symbol of Islamic resistance to Israel and the West. The Sunni world has rejected that claim, and the loss of Hamas support destroys the last shreds of credibility the Shiite mullahs had as Islamic rather than sectarian leaders.

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  • Mike H. in Spokane

    Taqqiya still rules.

  • Mike H. in Spokane

    Oops forgot my tag


  • crosspatch

    Ok, but what is he saying in Arabic?

  • Rich K

    Knowing that the isreali’s control the energy and supply lines to the territory they reside in is reason enough to get out front on this for Hamas. Could they survive a clampdown from Jeruselem? Hardly.

  • Sooke

    Funny how those groups who hate Israel so much are secretly delighted when Israel flexes its muscle against someone else.

    Israel was universally condemned for blowing up Syrian and Saddam’s nuclear reactors. The outrage was all completely phony.

    Israel does the job no one else will do. Whatever fragile peace there is in the Mideast is the result of Israels’s military strength.

  • jthc


    I’m surprised you don’t mention Syria as the conflict that has driven a wedge between Hamas and Iran/Hezbollah. When Assad falls it will be interesting to see what happens in Lebanon and whether Hezbollah can remain there.

  • Jay Currie

    If I lived in Gaza I would not be thrilled by the prospect of an Iranian bomb being delivered atop a knockoff North Korean missile 1000 miles. A bit of a wobble and the Palestinian problem is solved.

    Not an ideal outcome.

  • Ben

    Seems like if Iran got nukes and decided to bomb Israel, Gaza and the West Bank would be collateral damage. If I were Hamas, I’d be all for avoiding getting a nuke dropped on my next door neighbor simply because it would probably kill me along with my neighbor.

  • teapartydoc

    Bibi? You catchin’ this?

  • nadine

    Hamas is reverting to its natural patron, the Muslim Brotherhood, from whom it is a spin-off. The Muslim Brotherhood don’t want any fuss with Israel until they have finished consolidating power in Egypt. So they are biding their time, and telling Hamas to cool it too. The MB figure there is plenty of time to decide between a terror war and a conventional war between Egypt and Israel after they have seized full power.

  • Lorenz Gude

    Yes, the chessboard has many pieces on it. Hamas’ announcement is the kind of move that in chess notation is followed by an exclamation point and a question mark.

  • Kris

    Lorenz@11: Speaking of chess, are you following the current chess championship, featuring the Pakistani champion against his Palestinian Arab challenger?

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