Hezbollah and Hamas:Loyality VS betrayal

 
“We demand of Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria and call on it  to leave its weapons directed only at the Zionist enemy,”

A Gun for Rent: After Libya, Hamas “Jihad” in Syria continues

 Hezbollah’s Palestinian problem………and vice versa
Franklin Lamb
Beirut
Many Lebanese and Syrian supporters of the region’s Resistance culture, increasingly led by Hezbollah, are chastising, for a number of  reasons, their former Islamist ally Hamas. Pillorying them with accusations  that the latter are ingrates who are creating a host of problems for  Hezbollah and its support for the Syrian regime, during the continuing  crisis. Unnecessary problems, it is frequently asserted, that inure to the  benefit of their mutual arch enemies, the Zionist colonizers of Palestine  and their American and Arab enablers.An outsider living near the center of the Hezbollah security zone inDahiyeh, South Beirut, as does this observer, hears from friends and  neighbors both sides of this rancorous domestic argument. Having respect for, and being a supporter of both, one feels a bit awkward– rather like a  good friend of a married couple, who are engaged in an increasingly  acrimonious marital spat. While sympathetic to each friend’s seemingly legitimate complaints with  the other, one does not want to take sides for, among other reasons, the risk of appearing disloyal to mutual friends and alienating perhaps both while being labeled a weak, “friend betrayer.”

Yet one cannot disagree with the Palestinian community in both Syria and  Lebanon who repeatedly assert that they want to stay neutral in the Syrian
crisis which appears unlikely to end anytime soon. Palestinian refugees,  in Palestine as well as in Syria and Lebanon, want to stay out of internecine  conflicts and focus on trying to survive and confronting their real enemies,  those who stole and are still living on their land.

Some supporters of Hezbollah and the Palestine Resistance seek to avoid  exhibiting dirty laundry to public view, but given the voracious craving of
media outlets linked to various local parties as well as foreign sponsors,  there is much pressure and opportunity to condemn each side for, some real  but many illusory, Hezbollah-Palestinian cross-border conflicts. This mutually  destructive phenomenon appears to be spreading.

 

Hezbollah’s local Palestinian problem started to form in the spring of 2011  as the Syrian crisis quickly gained momentum. Some Palestinians joined the rebels and nearly 28 months into the maelstrom, continue fighting  the Assad  government. The numbers appear to this observer to be a tiny fraction of  the unemployed, discouraged Palestinian youth. Some have succumbed to  the allure of $200 per month, free cigarettes, and an AK-47 and have joined  one or the other of literally hundreds of jihadist militias operating in Syria, some currently scoping out Lebanon.

Some point out that those Palestinian refugees in Syria should not be seen as betraying those who have helped them most. The undeniable fact is that  Palestinian refugees in Syria have for more than six decades been granted by  the government rights to education, medical care, housing, employment,  and in many instances, preferential treatment. In addition, Syria has granted  them identity and travel documents, to an extent that no other Arab League  country has. This despite decades of Arab potentates blathering interminably about supporting the “bloodstream and sacred cause of Palestine.”

So there is festering resentment when certain media blare that Palestinian  groups such as Hamas are with the rebels and are insisting that Hezbollah fighters not enter Syria under any pretext. Hamas stands accused of closing their Damascus offices, accepting a $400 million grant from Syria’s nemesis Qatar and of joining the US-Israel axis by harming their own people as well as  undermining the resistance to the Zionist regime in the process. Certain  other Palestinians in camps such as Yarmouk in Syria and Shatila in Lebanon  tacitly accuse Hamas of abandoning the Palestinian cause and misguidedly  sparking sectarian strife with Hezbollah. Others argue just the opposite  and blame Hezbollah.


 Some Palestinians are also said to be carrying guns for the Saida-based,  Lebanese Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir, the imam of Saida’s Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, while supporting his anti-Hezbollah-Assad regime which is trying to unite Sunnis who make up roughly 85% of the world’s  Muslim population, to eliminate all Shia Muslims.

Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels  in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets. Some Hezbollah fighters
complain that they taught Hamas many of their battlefield skills which they turned around and used against Hezbollah forces in al-Qusayr and are preparing to do the same, with larger numbers, in the coming battle for  Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

Many supporters of Hezbollah believe Hamas and some other Palestinian  factions were being needlessly provocative when a few officials issued an unusual admonishment of Hezbollah on June 13, demanding it direct its  firepower at Israel and withdraw from involvement in the Syrian conflict.

“We demand of Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria and call on it  to leave its weapons directed only at the Zionist enemy,” read a statement  allegedly from Hamas, posted on the Facebook page of its deputy political  leader Moussa Abu Marzouq.

Despite its withdrawal from Syria in early 2012, Hamas, as an Islamic organization, has been wary of publicly criticizing Hezbollah for its military  support of the Assad regime. On June 13, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Araby reported that a schism existed within Hamas regarding its attitude  toward Hezbollah. Hamas’s military wing, the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam  Brigades, reportedly endorsed the alliance with the Syria-Hezbollah axis,  while its political leadership opposed it. Some have questioned the accuracy  of this report.

Other more petty accusations have been made by some Hezbollah supporters, for example that some Palestinian camp residents in Ein el  Helwe camp near Saida and Jalil camp near Baalbek, were encouraged by  Hamas to burn refugee aid packages provided by Hezbollah for Syrians  and Palestinians forced to flee Syria. The reasons cited by the Palestinians  for this odd act were that they felt they could not, given moral Islamic values, accept “blood” gifts, even of much needed food.

This observer met with some Palestinian leaders from different factions and  is satisfied by their explanations that this was not the case. Hezbollah has  given emergency aid to all the Palestinian camps. What happened with the  symbolic burning of a few parcels was entirely politically motivated and  organized by certain Salafists in Saida and a few troublemakers from the pro-Saudi/US factions, including rump elements from the pro-western March 14 alliance. That issue has now been resolved by Palestinian popular committees and the Hezbollah donors. Hopefully it will not recur. 

 Some Hezbollah partisans complain that certain Palestinian factions have circulated rumors in the media accusing Hezbollah of wrongdoing and thereby are in effect collaborating with the US and Israel to divide and  weaken the National Lebanese Resistance.

Yet additional criticism of certain Palestinian factions, specifically Hamas, relates to the nature of the movement’s relationship with the state of Qatar which is accused of essentially appointed itself godfather of all the  Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood movements in the region. According to some, this has caused Hamas to lose the credibility and popularity that  it once enjoyed from diaspora Palestinians.

The Palestinians’ Hezbollah problem

Revisiting the “marital spat” analogy, some of the accusations against
certain Palestinian groups mirror those made against Hezbollah. Some Lebanese analysts and some camp Palestinians have warned that  Hezbollah’s foray into Syria is fueling a Sunni-Shiite polarization that  threatens to feed extremism on both sides and catapult the conflict to the  wider regionSyrian opposition groups reported on May 30 that Hezbollah had ordered Hamas’s representative in Beirut, Ali Baraka, to leave the country immediately because of Hamas’s public support for Syrian rebels  fighting Assad. Baraka denied the report, telling Lebanese media (and  his neighbors) that there was no change in the relationship between the  two organizations. As of today, this observer’s kitchen balcony overlooks  the Hamas office in central Haret Hreik and it is clear that it is still functioning.

The Hamas disagreement with Hezbollah still stands but both parties  have agreed to discuss it by holding a series of meetings. In response to a  question on this subject, former Foreign Ministry undersecretary in the  ousted government in Gaza Ahmad Youssef, pointed out that Hamas  needs and very much wants the support of all the powers and sides in the  region to face the colonial Zionist implantation, what some refer to as “the 9th Crusade.” Youssef explained: “We needed and still need Iran and  Hezbollah. However, the movement’s position is that this behavior had  damaged the relations which we wanted to be close and strong with the party.” Next month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has his  own problems with Hamas, will reportedly visit Lebanon to meet with  Palestinians who fled Syria and is expected to attempt a Hamas-Hezbollah musalaha (reconciliation).

The resistance to the Zionist colony has multiple pillars, two of which  are Hezbollah and the Palestine National Movement. Both of these as well as a growing number of others, including hundreds of militia now fighting in Syria, share one principle objective, to liberate occupied  Palestine and ensure the Palestinian’s right-of-return to the 531 villages  that were ethnically cleansed 65 years ago, by whatever means required.

Neither Hezbollah or those Palestinians now fighting each other in  Syria, and, God-forbid, soon in Lebanon if the US-Israeli is successful in  achieving it’s divisive project, need 2-cents worth of advice from this  foreign observer. But surely, most from each camp will agree that this  is not the time for Hezbollah and the Palestinians to use their scant  resources to battle each other over perceived wrongs. There will be time  enough to discuss these, if either group is still feeling wronged, after Palestine is freed from its racist colonial yoke.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and Lebanon and can be

reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: