‘Regime change’ in Hamas and a return to Syria

The removal of Khaled Meshaal from power was necessary for normalization with Damascus to occur

September 26 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

In mid-September, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas issued a statement indicating that it had restored relations with Syria after ten years of estrangement, effectively ending its self-imposed exile from Damascus.

After the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, at the height of the so-called Arab Spring, Hamas – in line with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) – turned its back on its once-staunch Syrian ally and threw its support behind the mostly-Islamist “revolution.”

As governments collapsed in key Arab states, the Ikhwan felt the time was ripe for their organization to ascend to a leadership role from Gaza to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria.

Yet the decision by Hamas’ leadership to leave Damascus was met with strong opposition from influential circles within the movement, especially in its military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

Despite Hamas’ official position toward Syria, internal opposition to the break in relations remained for years, most notably from Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar, and a number of Al-Qassam Brigades leaders such as Muhammad al-Deif, Marwan Issa, Ahmad al-Jabari and Yahya al-Sinwar.

Today, that balance has shifted notably. Sinwar is currently Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, and his alliance is in strong ascendence within the movement.

From Amman to Damascus to Doha

But back in 2011, the person with the final say over the decision to abandon its Syrian ally was the then-head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal.

Meshaal was the director of the Hamas office in Amman in 1999 when the Jordanian government decided to expel him. He travelled between the airports of a number of Arab capitals, which refused to receive him, under the pretext that there were agreements with a superpower requiring his extradition.

Only Damascus agreed to receive him. Despite the tension that historically prevailed in the Syrian state’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, Meshaal was given freedom to work and built a personal relationship with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. In the years that followed, Hamas was granted facilities and resources that it did not enjoy in any other Arab capital.

Syria opened its doors to train hundreds of resistance fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and to manufacture quality weapons, such as missiles and reconnaissance drones.

One Syrian source told The Cradle that the privileges enjoyed by Hamas leaders and members in Syria were not available even to Syrian citizens. In addition to the high cost of Meshaal’s residence and security in Damascus, the state provided him and his associates with dozens of luxury homes in the capital’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Syria was also at the forefront of countries that facilitated the arrival of high-quality weapons into the besieged Gaza Strip. A source in the resistance tells The Cradle that the first Kornet missile to reach Gaza between 2009 and 2011 came from Syria with the approval of President Assad, and was received by then-Chief of Staff of Al-Qassam Brigades Ahmed al-Jabari.

Also crucial to the Palestinian resistance was the arrival of Iranian and Russian missiles that entered Gaza via Syrian arms depots.

Meshaal chooses Doha

It is important to recognize that while the decision to leave Damascus was not by any means unanimously agreed upon within Hamas, as political bureau chief, it was ultimately Meshaal’s call.

A Hamas source informed The Cradle that in September 2011, six months after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Meshaal received an invitation from the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, to visit Doha. Recall that Qatar was one of the first states to fund and arm the Islamist opposition in the brutal Syrian war.

According to al-Thani’s estimates, the “Syrian revolution” was likely to end in the overthrow of the Assad government. He is reported to have advised Meshaal to abandon the sinking ship, so to speak, because if the rebellion is successful, “those who stayed with him [Assad] will drown, as happened with the late President Yasser Arafat, when Saddam Hussein was defeated in Gulf War,” the source described.

In an attempt to win over Hamas from Iran’s patronage, al-Thani offered to financially support the movement and to provide a geographical space for operations in the Qatari capital and in Turkish territory.

Meshaal is said to have informed his host that such a decision could not be taken unilaterally, and that he needed to refer to Hamas’ Political Bureau and Shura Council for buy-in.

Internal dissent 

On his way back to Damascus, Meshaal made pit stops in a number of regional countries to inform Hamas’ leadership of the Qatari offer. Suffice it to say, the deal was rejected by the majority of members of the Political Bureau and the Al-Qassam Brigades.

The Hamas source says: “The second man in Al-Qassam, Ahmad Al-Jabari, rejected the treachery against the Syrian leadership, along with Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ali Baraka, Imad al-Alami, Mustafa al-Ladawi, and Osama Hamdan.

On the other hand, Meshaal had the support of Musa Abu Marzouk, Ahmed Yousef, Muhammad Ghazal, Ghazi Hamad and Ahmed Bahr, in addition to a number of the movement’s sheikhs such as Younis al-Astal, Saleh Al-Raqab, and Ahmed Nimr Hamdan, while the head of the Hamas government in Gaza at the time, Ismail Haniyeh, did not have a decisive position.

Meshaal’s opponents were of the opinion that as Hamas is a resistance movement, it would be ill-advised to sever ties with the region’s Axis of Resistance – Iran, Hezbollah and Syria – and that leaving this alliance left little options other than to join the “Axis of Normalization” [with Israel].

Meshaal then received a call from Kamal Naji, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in which he was informed that the Syrians “are aware of all the details of your visit to Qatar, and of the discussion taking place in the Hamas leadership.”

According to the source, Naji advised Meshaal that Hamas “will not find a warm embrace like Syria, and that despite its historical disagreement with the Muslim Brotherhood, Damascus will not ask Hamas to take any declared position on the Syrian crisis.”

The source in Hamas told The Cradle: “The Qataris felt that Meshaal was unable to take such a fateful stance.” At this point, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (considered to be the spiritual guide of the Ikhwan) intervened to pressure both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk, who had not yet made up their minds.

Fateful meetings

Meshaal was later invited to visit Turkey, where he met leaders of Syrian armed groups, accompanied by the Qatari Minister of Intelligence and officers from Turkish intelligence.

They convinced him that “a few steps separate the opposition from the Republican Palace in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus, and that the days of the Assad regime are numbered.”

The meeting of Hamas’ political bureau in Sudan was the turning point. In that gathering, to the surprise of some participants, both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk weighed in to side with Meshaal, and it was decided to “discreetly” withdraw from Damascus.

After the decision was taken, the Qataris worked to further enhance Meshaal’s position within Hamas, through an extraordinary visit by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to the Gaza Strip – the first for an Arab head of state. During this visit, al-Thani provided generous support with more than $450 million provided for reconstruction and the implementation of development projects.

Hamas’ fateful decision to abandon Damascus, however, was not met with the same enthusiasm by the movement’s military wing, who believed the move made little strategic sense.

Back to Damascus

In the following years, major regional changes contributed to the downfall of Khaled Meshaal and his removal from his position leading Hamas’ Political Bureau.

The Syrian state remained steadfast in the face of collective NATO-Gulf efforts to unseat Assad; Russian military intervention altered the battlefield balance of power; the Syrian political and armed opposition began to disintegrate and suffer heavy losses; the Ikhwan’s rule in Egypt and its control over Libya and Tunisia began to collapse; and a stand-off with Qatar caused Saudi Arabia and the UAE to alter their position on Syria.

With these stunning regional setbacks, it quickly became apparent that neither Qatari nor Turkish support offered any real strategic value for Hamas’ resistance model – nor could they hope to fill the void left by the reduction in Iranian and Syrian military support.

Moreover, Al-Qassam Brigades found itself facing severe financial difficulties, unable to secure the salaries of its members, let alone sustain any meaningful armed resistance against Israel’s continuous assaults and occupation.

At the time, Hamas’ revenues were derived mainly from taxes imposed on Gaza’s residents, while Qatari support, under US supervision, was limited to providing the expenses of the Hamas leadership in Qatar, and providing seasonal financial grants to government employees in Gaza.

Meshaal’s fall from power  

Cumulatively, these events and the stagnation of the Palestinian resistance convinced Hamas’ leadership of the need to reshuffle its regional cards. The freed prisoner, Yahya al-Sinwar, was the initial spark to revamp a fresh new agenda, following his sweeping victory as the new Hamas leader in Gaza.

Sinwar, one of the historical leaders of Al-Qassam Brigades, decided to reset relations with Iran and Hezbollah, and work toward the movement’s eventual return to Damascus.

Meshaal, realizing that regional changes were no longer in his favor, tried to flatter the Syrian state more than once in media statements. But a firm decision had already been taken across the Axis of Resistance that Meshaal was no longer a welcome or trustworthy figure.

This was especially the case after it became clear to the Syrian security services that Meshaal was involved, along with dozens of Hamas members, in supporting armed groups, exposing secret sites of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese resistance Hezbollah, smuggling weapons to armed opposition in the strategically-located Yarmouk refugee camp and eastern Ghouta region, and providing them with expertise in digging secret tunnels.

Meshaal’s isolation became crystal clear at the end of December 2021, when Hezbollah refused to receive him during a Beirut visit, even though he was officially the external relations officer for Hamas.

According to the Hamas source, Meshaal tried to disrupt the consensus of the leadership of the Political Bureau and the Shura Council on restoring relations with Syria, when he “leaked, at the end of last June, the decision taken in the Political Bureau meeting to return to Damascus.”

Hamas, post-Meshaal

Meshaal’s leak caused media chaos, followed by attempts to pressure Hamas to reverse course. A statement issued by eight of the most important Muslim Brotherhood scholars, advised Hamas to reconsider its decision because of the “great evils it carries for the Ummah.”

Meshaal meanwhile, remained busy trying to restore relations with Jordan, in parallel with Iran, Lebanon and Syria. However, with the recent announcement by Hamas that it would return to Syria, “the efforts made by Meshaal and the Qataris behind him have gone unheeded,” says the movement’s source.

The normalization of relations between Hamas and Syria is significant, not only for the military dividend it could reap for the Palestinian resistance, but also because it can pave the way for Turkey and Qatar to re-establish their Syria ties, although Doha would do so very reluctantly.

With the decision to sideline the Meshaal camp within Hamas, it would seem that Hamas – and not Syria – has ultimately been the subject of regime change in this regional geopolitical battle for influence.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Hamas’ Drone, Shehab, Revealed in Public Ceremony in Gaza (PHOTOS)

September 22, 2022

Members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades take part in the ceremony of the inauguration of the ‘Shehab’ drone, in Gaza city. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic movement Hamas, took part in the ceremony of the inauguration of the ‘Shehab’ drone, in Gaza city on September 21. 

In a documentary released last June, the Hamas movement revealed that the group possesses a large number of drones, manufactured and developed in the Gaza Strip. The reveal on Wednesday was the first time that Shehab was introduced to the public. 

The Palestine Chronicle correspondent in Gaza, Mahmoud Ajjour attended the ceremony and shared these images.

(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (2/4)

الخميس15 أيلول 2022

عبد الرحمن نصار 

عام 2022، انطلقت كتيبة نابلس ومعها مجموعتان من فتح، لتصبح نابلس ندّاً حقيقياً لجنين، ثم جاءت كتيبة طولكرم لتخفف العبء الميداني عن جنين ونابلس، مع زيادة استنزاف الإسرائيليين على صعيد القوات البرية والمجهود المخابراتي.

كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (2/4)

أخذت جنين حصة الأسد من الحلقة الأولى، ليس حصراً لأن انطلاق كتائب المقاومة المتصاعدة في الضفة بدأ منها، بل لأنها تمثّل الشعلة التي يجب ألا تنطفئ حتى تتّقد المدن الباقية، ولا سيما الخليل. فعلى الطريق إلى الجنوب، زرع الشهيد جميل العموري بذوراً أين ما حلّ، في نابلس وطولكرم، وليس أخيراً طوباس. 

لكن مدناً أخرى، مثل نابلس، تسبب دخولها على خط المواجهة في انقلاب جذري للمعادلة، إذ ربما أمكن احتواء ظاهرة جنين عسكرياً (سياسة القضم البطيء والاستدراج والاغتيالات المركزة)، أو اجتماعياً (“التسهيلات” وزيادة التجارة وتصاريح العمل)، فيما أتى دخول مدن ومخيمات أخرى ليوسّع المأزق الإسرائيلي.

بعد عام تقريباً على انطلاقة “كتيبة جنين” واستشهاد مؤسسها جميل العموري، ومن بعده عبد الله الحصري وشادي نجم وأحمد السعدي وآخرون، أثمر الزرع في نابلس. في 24 أيار/مايو 2022، شهدت منطقة ضريح النبي يوسف القريبة من مخيمي بلاطة وعسكر شرقي نابلس اشتباكات بين المستوطنين والمئات من الشبان الذين رشقوا القوات المقتحمة بالحجارة، قبل أن يتطور المشهد إلى اشتباك مسلح بدا أنه يأخذ الشكل المنظم والمدروس.

بعدها بأيام قليلة، صدر البيان الأول لـ”كتيبة نابلس” شارحاً حيثيات الكمين الذي نفّذه 4 مقاتلين؛ “اثنان اعتليا أسطح أحد البنايات القريبة من القبر… في حين تمركز آخران بين الأشجار في الجهة المقابلة قبل الاقتحام بساعات… انتظروا وقت اطمئنان جنود الاحتلال، وأمطروهم بزخات الرصاص من مسافة قريبة جداً، قبل أن ينسحب مقاتلونا من المكان بسلام”.

أيامٌ أخرى وبدأت عُصب “سرايا القدس” (الجهاد الإسلامي) بالظهور في المدينة التي كانت شبه محسومة لمقاتلي “فتح” (وسط غياب حمساوي مسلح رغم الحضور الجيد للحركة هناك)، وهذا ما كانت تعالجه خطابات الكتيبة بوضوح، إذ قالت في بيان لاحق: “لسنا وحيدين في الميدان… ظروف محافظة نابلس تستوجب العمل ضمن ضوابط في التشبيك والمتابعة والإعلان للمحافظة على أمد العمل المقاوم، فكل بندقيةٍ نفضت غبارها أفقياً هي شريكةٌ حتمية في الكفاح المسلح، لا نقدمها ولا نؤخرها، فنحن نتاج فكرة خرج بها الشهيد المجاهد جميل العموري حينما قال: رسالتي إلى شباب الضفة، لا تطلقوا رصاصكم في الهواء”.

  • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح
  • كتائب المقاومة في نابلس
  • كتيبة نابلس / بلاطة – سرايا القدس
  • كتائب الأقصى – فتح
  • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح
  • كتائب المقاومة في نابلس
  • كتيبة نابلس / بلاطة – سرايا القدس
  • كتائب الأقصى – فتح
  • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح

“جبل النار”

من المعروف أنَّ نابلس لا تُعدّ من معاقل “الجهاد الإسلامي” في الضفة، بل تقتسمها “حماس” و”فتح”، لكن العلاقة الجيدة بين “الجهاد” وعدد من عناصر “فتح”، والأزمة في العلاقة بين فتحاويي المدينة، وخصوصاً البلدة القديمة، والسلطة، والكاريزما التي كان يتمتع بها الشهيد العموري وزياراته إلى نابلس، عوامل ساهمت كلها في سحب قدم كثيرين إلى الظاهرة المستجدة، لكن “كتيبة نابلس” (سرايا القدس) تتركز أكثر في بلاطة الذي يمتاز بواقع أمني وديموغرافي يسمح بتمدد الفعل المقاوم.

في بلاطة كثافةٌ سكانية عالية لأربعين ألف لاجئ يعيشون وسط هندسة مدنية تمثّل عامل احتضان أمني جيّد يحرم القوات المقتحمة حريةَ المناورة، لأنه يتكون من بيوت متجاورة وشوارع ضيقة تسمح بإمكانية التنقل من بيت إلى بيت من دون الحاجة إلى الخروج إلى الشوارع الرئيسية. هو أيضاً بيئة جيدة للعمل العسكري ضد الاحتلال، بالنظر إلى خروجه عن تبعية السلطة، فالعلاقة بين الفتحاويين هناك والأجهزة الأمنية علاقة شائكة وصلت إلى ذروتها في شباط/فبراير 2018، قبل أن تنفجر في 2020.

مع أنَّ مدينةً مثل الخليل فيها كميات سلاح أكبر من نابلس، فإنَّ استغلال القيادي المفصول من “فتح” محمد دحلان حالة النقمة على الأجهزة الأمنية في نابلس لاختراق القواعد الشعبية للحركة هو ما أثار السلطة ضدهم أكثر من غيرهم.

امتدّ هذا الاستغلال 7 سنوات ضخّ فيها دحلان أموالاً إماراتية اشترى بها ولاءات كثيرة، بعدما كان المسيطر من قبله اللواء توفيق الطيراوي، والأخير أيضاً سحب منه رئيس السلطة، محمود عباس، حديثاً عدداً من الامتيازات، منها حراسه الشخصيون، بعد صدامه مع الوزير الصّاعد بسرعة إلى سدة القيادة، حسين الشيخ، وعدد آخر من القيادات الفتحاوية.

في النتيجة، سمحت حالة التوتر داخل “فتح” بإنشاء بيئة حاضنة لكل فعل يعارض توجهات السلطة، وهذا ما دفع “الجهاد الإسلامي” إلى التقاط الفرصة، تحديداً في بلاطة. الخطوة الأكثر ذكاء أنها لم تسعَ إلى تحويل الشبان انتماءهم التنظيمي إليها، بل طلبت منهم الاستمرار بالعمل باسم تنظيمهم كي يحافظوا على ما لديهم من امتيازات، وثانياً – ليس السبب الأخير – كي يستقطبوا عدداً أكبر للمقاومة المسلحة. ما ساعد في ذلك أنَّ الفتحاويين عموماً يتقبّلون التحالف مع “الجهاد” أكثر من “حماس”، وحتى “الجبهة الشعبية”، ولا سيما في مدن شمالي الضفة، ولهذا أسبابه التي تحتاج بحثاً منفصلاً.

ما سبق جعل حتى مناصري “الجهاد الإسلامي” يرون في تشكيل هذه الكتيبة “أعجوبة”، وخصوصاً أن كوادر الحركة المنظّمين رسمياً في نابلس لم يكونوا يتعدّون المئة بقليل حتى وقت قريب. مما يزيد امتيازات دخول المدينة على خط كتائب المقاومة هو وفرة السلاح، ولا سيما في بلاطة، الّذي يمتاز شبابه بخصلة مشتركة مع أهالي جنين هي “شجاعتهم الشديدة واندفاعهم غير المحدود”.

وبينما مثّل الأداء السيئ للأجهزة الأمنية و”فتح” على الصعيد الداخلي، ومن ذلك اغتيال نزار بنات وسرقة أموال بناء مستشفى الحسن للسرطان والتنسيق الأمني، عوامل منفرة، تسبب استشهاد أدهم مبروكة (28 عاماً) ومحمد الدخيل (22 عاماً) وأشرف مبلسط (21 عاماً) في 8 شباط/فبراير 2022 بحالة تأثر كبيرة، خصوصاً أن اغتيالهم جرى وسط نابلس، وفي وضح النهار، بالنظر إلى الحضور الشعبي الذي كانوا يتمتعون به، وهو الأمر الذي أدركت رام الله خطورته سلفاً. ولذلك، كانت ولا تزال تعمل قدر المستطاع على إيجاد شرخ بين العناصر المسلحين التابعين لـ”فتح” من جهة، وخلق عداوات بينهم وبين “الجهاد” من جهة، وأكبر مثال على ذلك الإشكال الذي وقع مع قيادات في الأخيرة (خضر عدنان مثالاً).

منذ اغتيال الثلاثة، بدأت مطاردة شاب صغير يُدعى إبراهيم النابلسي (19 عاماً) لم يكن مشهوراً في ذلك الوقت بقدر شهرته بعد استشهاده (9 آب/أغسطس 2022)، لكن الأشهر الستة التي عاشها مطارداً كانت كفيلة، إلى جانب مقتله في معركة، بالدفع نحو تعزيز حالة المقاومة في نابلس. وجاء استشهاده، ومعه إسلام صبوح (في العشرينات) وحسين نزال (16 عاماً)، ليعطي دفعة جديدة للمقاومين، ويجعل عدداً من الفتحاويين الرافضين أوامر حركتهم يخلقون تشكيلاً جديداً حمل اسم “عرين الأسود”، أعلن نفسه بداية هذا الشهر. 

النابلسي سبق أن نجا من محاولة اغتيال قبل استشهاده بأسبوعين، قضى فيها شهيدان كان لهما أيضاً تأثيرهما في الجمهور، هما محمد عزيزي (25 عاماً) وعبد الرحمن صبح (28 عاماً)، عقب حصار واشتباك. مع ذلك، تواجه الحالات العسكرية في نابلس مشكلة في القيادة الموحدة وتنظيم العمل وجعله يرتقي من وضعية التصدي للاجتياحات إلى المبادرة، وهذا ما يحتاج إلى زمن، لكنَّ آثار التحسن بدأت تظهر أكثر فأكثر مع عدد من الكمائن المتتالية، وخصوصاً التي تستهدف المستوطنين ممن يقتحمون قبر يوسف دورياً. 

من جهة أخرى، تعني قوة نابلس تخفيف الضغط على جنين، وخصوصاً أن بلاطة يمثل أكبر مخيم لاجئين في الضفة، والعقبات اللوجستية بشأن إيصال الأموال والأسلحة إليه أقل من جنين، فضلاً عن أن زيادة حالة المنافسة الحزبية تقود إلى مزيد من الفعالية في العمل، خصوصاً بين “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي”. ورغم سيئات الحالة التنافسية على المجتمع ظاهراً، فإن نتاجاتها على صعيد المقاومة إيجابية في هذه المرحلة.

هكذا، حاول الاحتلال في البداية التقليل من قدر “كتيبة نابلس” وكذلك “طولكرم” و”طوباس”، حتى وصل فيه الحال إلى إهمال ذكر الأخيرتين في الإعلام العبري، لتتحول “كتيبة نابلس” ومجموعات “فتح” بالتدريج إلى ندّ حقيقي لـ”جنين”، وتزيد شعبيتها وحضورها مع توالي الشهداء والتصدي للاقتحامات.

كتيبة طولكرم

في 2 نيسان/أبريل 2022، وقع اشتباك في مدخل قرية عرابة في جنين قضى فيه الشهيد سيف أبو لبدة (25 عاماً)، ابن مخيم عين شمس بطولكرم، ليتضح أنه كان في طريقه لتنفيذ عملية استشهادية قبل أن تطارده قوة خاصة من الجيش. 

أثناء المطاردة، وقعت القوة في كمين محكم شارك فيه عدد من عناصر “كتيبة جنين”، ودار اشتباك طويل مع قوات الاحتلال أدى إلى إصابة 4 من الجنود، أحدهم بصورة خطرة، واستشهاد كل من صائب عباهرة (30 عاماً) وخليل طوالبة (24 عاماً)، إلى جانب أبو لبدة.

قاد حدثان مهمان جهاز “الشاباك” إلى أبو لبدة: الأول تنفيذه قبل أسبوع من اغتياله عملية إطلاق نار على قوة خاصة، أطلق فيها 52 رصاصة على وحدات الاحتلال (“لم يصب أي من الجنود بأعجوبة”، وفق وصف القناة العبرية 12)، والآخر أنه ظهر وهو يتحدث أمام مجموعة من عناصر “الجهاد”، مؤكداً لهم أن حدثاً كبيراً قريباً سيسمعون به. 

في وقت لاحق، نشرت “سرايا القدس” مقطعاً مصوراً ظهر فيه وهو يقرأ وصيته على طريقة استشهاديي الانتفاضة الثانية، ليكون أبو لبدة، كما العموري، صاحب الدور التأسيسي الملهم في طولكرم، فيما توكّل الأمين العام للحركة، زياد النخالة، بنفسه إعلان ولادة “كتيبة طولكرم”.

من الجيد التذكير بأنّ علاقة تاريخية مميزة تربط بين مخيمي جنين ونور شمس، فجذور اللجوء واحدة، لأن المخيم الصغير تأسَّس عام 1951، أي بعد 3 سنوات على نكبة فلسطين، وسكان نور شمس في الأساس كانوا يسكنون مخيماً في جنين مقاماً على سهل جنزور، لكن بسبب عاصفة ثلجية أطاحت به رحلوا إلى طولكرم، فكان المخيم الجديد الذي يقارب عدد سكانه 10 آلاف. ومثل نابلس، لم يسجّل عين شمس خلال سنوات انتفاضة الأقصى الثانية أنه كان معقلاً لـ”الجهاد الإسلامي”، لكن الحركة استطاعت أن تتمدد فيه بعدما كان ثقلها متركزاً في قرى مثل عتيل وعلار وصيدا.

جاء اختيار هذا المخيم لتأسيس نواة الكتيبة جاء بسبب هندسته المكانية والتداخل العمراني وإمكانية الاتصال الجغرافي بينه وبين مخيم جنين، ليكون أكثر أماناً من مراكز المدن. وكما يبدو، احتاج الشهيد أبو لبدة وقتاً شبيهاً بالذي احتاجه العموري للتأسيس والتحشيد لإحياء العمل العسكري من جديد، فضلاً عن تنفيذه شخصياً عدداً من عمليات المشاغلة وإطلاق النار.

في البداية، تجاهل العدو هذه الكتيبة على الصعيد الإعلامي، ولا يزال كذلك إلى حدّ ما، بل عمد إلى العمل عليها مخابراتياً من دون مواجهة مبْكرة كي لا يساهم في صناعة رموز ملهمين كما جنين، وهذا ما يفسر محاولة الاحتلال اعتقال أبو لبدة لا قتله، لكن وقوع القوة في كمين هو ما قاد إلى اشتباك دامٍ بين الجانبين. 

مع ذلك، يَفهم الإسرائيلي أنَّ طولكرم لها بعض الخصائص التي تميزها عن كلٍّ من جنين ونابلس، إذ يمتاز شبابها، بالنظر إلى التجربة في الانتفاضة الثانية، بالهدوء الكبير والتفكير المعمّق والصبر الإستراتيجي في تنفيذ الفعل.

هذا لا ينفي وجود هذه المميزات نفسها في جنين ونابلس، لكن لكلٍّ نقطة قوته. المثال على ذلك ما فعله الشهيد لؤي السعدي (“الجهاد الإسلامي”، 1979-2005) حين أسس مدرسة عسكرية كان قوامها التخطيط الطويل للوصول إلى الأهداف المدروسة بعناية، والقدرة العالية على العمل على نحو يتجاوز الفعل الطارئ إلى المستمر الذي يمكن أن يعاود نشاطه بعد كل ضربة، وأيضاً التخفي عن العدو، وأخيراً الحالة المتشعّبة في توزيع قواعد الفعل العسكري إلى قرى بعيدة ومدن خارج الحيز المكاني الذي تبدأ منه.

السلوك نفسه ينطبق على قيادات أخرى في طولكرم على اختلاف انتماءاتهم الحزبية، منهم الأسير عباس السيد (1966)، أحد أكبر قادة “كتائب القسام” (حماس) في طولكرم، وهو مسؤول عن قتل مئات المستوطنين والجنود في عشرات العمليات الاستشهادية، وكذلك الشهيد رائد الكرمي (1974-2002)، أبرز مؤسسي “كتائب الأقصى” (فتح) وقائدها العام عقب اغتيال ثابت ثابت. وقد اتهمته قوات الاحتلال بالمسؤولية عن قتل العشرات من المستوطنين والجنود، وقالت إن الانتفاضة الثانية تزداد سوءاً بسببه. وكان من الممكن أنْ يؤدي الاستثمار المستمر في نهج الكرمي، الملقّب بـ”صائد المستوطنين”، إلى رفع كلفة الاستيطان في الضفة، وصولاً إلى تفكيك بعض المستوطنات.

خاتمة: طولكرم إذا عادت

إضافة إلى ما سبق، تحمل طولكرم جملة أخرى من المميزات، من أهمها التواصل الجغرافي والتداخل التاريخي بينها وبين مخيم جنين؛ ففي اجتياح 2002، انتقل القائد الشيخ الشهيد رياض بدير (الجهاد الإسلامي) على رأس العشرات من المقاومين من طولكرم، واستطاعوا المشاركة في القتال إلى جانب مقاومي جنين حتى الاستشهاد، وهو ما يفسر التدخل السريع لعناصر “كتيبة جنين” في الكمين. أيضاً، تمتلك بلدات طولكرم ومخيماتها إرثاً تاريخياً مرتبطاً بالشهداء والأسرى شبيهاً بالذي تمتلكه جنين، حتى إننا نتحدث عن أجهزة أمنية يفعل عناصرها ما يفعله عناصر في جنين.

ومثلما تحظى جنين بسهولة وصول السلاح إليها من الداخل المحتل، تتميَّز طولكرم بأنها واحدة من أكبر المجمعات البشرية الفلسطينية التي تمتهن السرقة من المحتل، بل شكلت المدينة السوق الأبرز والأكثر ثراءً لسرقة السيارات ذات الأرقام الإسرائيلية لتنفيذ عمليات فدائية أو نقل الاستشهاديين إلى مدن العمق، لكن العنصر الأهم الذي يُبنى عليه هو ثقافة الاشتباك حتى النفس الأخير ورفض الأسر، التي أنشأها قادة “الجهاد” في الضفة، ولا سيما الشهداء السعدي وبدير وإياد حردان وآخرون.

ساهمت “طولكرم” في تخفيف العبء الميداني عن “جنين” وكذلك “نابلس”، وخصوصاً مع زيادة استنزاف الإسرائيليين على صعيد القوات البرية والمجهود المخابراتي، لكن الأخطر على الاحتلال هو نضوج الفعل العسكري لـ”طولكرم”، لأن مثل هذا الحدث سيشكل فارقة نوعية في الضفة، ليس في تمدد خلايا المقاومة فحسب، إنما زيادة القدرة على اختراق الداخل المحتل أيضاً، وربما تحوّل العمل من الاشتباك التكتيكي ورد الفعل إلى المبادرة والعمل المنظم القادر على كيّ الوعي الإسرائيلي، كما فعل بطلان من جنين لن ينسى أحد اسميهما: رعد خازم، وضياء حمارشة الذي عبر من خلال طولكرم، وقبلهما وبعدهما أسرى وشهداء كثر.

هذا ما يفسر أن أكثر من نصف الكتائب الإسرائيلية المنتشرة في الضفة تتركز حول طولكرم، لتعبّر عن المأزق الإسرائيلي في مواجهة هذه المدينة التي تشبه الرمح المغروز في خاصرة “إسرائيل”، بل يكفيها وصول سلاح بسيط في حسابات الجيوش، مثل قذائف الهاون، ليصير قلب “الدولة” تحت النار.

اقرأ: كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (1/4) 

Al-Quds Brigades responds to latest assassinations using 130 missiles

7 Aug, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Al-Quds Brigades announces the bombing of large areas in the occupied lands with salvoes of missiles as part of its initial response to the assassination of one of its commanders, Khaled Mansour.

Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards occupied lands, Gaza city, Palestine, Saturday, August 6, 2022 (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement (PIJ), announced Sunday the bombing of large areas of “Tel Aviv,” the central settlements, and the Gaza envelope using salvoes of rockets, as part of its initial response to the assassination of one of its officials, Khaled Mansour. 

The brigades said in a statement, “As a preliminary response to the crime of assassinating the great leader Khaled Mansour and his martyred brothers, we bombed large areas of Tel Aviv, the central cities, and the Gaza envelope.”

The statement added, “As part of Operation Unity of Battlefields, Al-Quds Brigades launched massive missile strikes against Tel Aviv, Palmachim base, Ashdod, Beer Al Sabe, Askalan, Netivot, Mefalsim, Mivtachim, and all the usurped areas of the Gaza envelope.”

In this context, Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent in Gaza pointed out that “the Al-Quds Brigades fired about 130 rockets at the settlements within 10 minutes.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement mourned those who were martyred in the aggression that targeted a residential area in the Yabna camp in Rafah, including commander Khaled Mansour.

The Israeli occupation began on August 5 aggression on the Gaza Strip on Friday, and Al-Quds Brigades announced that Tayseer Al-Jaabari, a military commander in the northern Gaza Strip, had been martyred.

The Palestinian Resistance factions mourned the martyrs of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, stressing that the occupation shall bear all the consequences of the aggression. 

Consequently, Al-Quds Brigades launched an operation in response to the Israeli occupation’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, by launching salvoes of rockets toward the occupied Palestinian territories.

Earlier today, Palestinian sources revealed Sunday to Al Mayadeen that “the Islamic Jihad movement (PIJ) possesses a game-changing weapon.”

The sources confirmed that this weapon is capable of seriously changing the course current battle, adding that “the resistance has not decided yet whether or not to use this game-changing weapon now or postpone it for a coming decisive battle.”

Hamas’ return ticket to Damascus won’t come cheap

The Palestinian resistance movement’s complicated relationship with Syria is headed for a reset, but it won’t be on their terms.

July 06 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Despite excited media reports of a Hamas-Syria rapprochement, nothing is finalized: the Palestinian resistance movement has much more to prove still.

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

On 21 June, two unnamed Hamas sources told Reuters that the Palestinian resistance movement had decided to restore ties with Damascus following a decade-long rift after Hamas expressed support for the Syrian opposition.

The news caused a row, and it seems that this may have been the purpose behind its leak.

Shortly after the report, dozens of websites, satellite channels and media commentators in Turkey, Qatar, and the UK who are sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood – the political Islamist group to which Hamas belongs ideologically – distanced themselves from Hamas, which has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

However, comments made by the head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has added credence to these claims.

In a speech before the National Islamic Conference in Beirut, on 25 June, Haniyeh said, “The time has come after ten years to make historic reconciliations in the Islamic nation.”

“What is happening in the region today is very dangerous as Israel is paving the way through military and security alliances to fight Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas,” he added.

So how accurate are the reports about “high-profile” secret meetings between Hamas and the Syrians? Is there a relationship between Haniyeh’s visit to Beirut and the timing of these revelations?

The heavy legacy of Khaled Meshaal

When Hamas left Syria over a decade ago, the office of Khaled Meshaal, who was the head of the movement’s Political Bureau at the time, justified the decision as stemming from “moral premises.”

They contended that the Hamas movement stands with the people in deciding who will rule them, saying “even if the ruler supports our right, we will not support his falsehood.” This reverberated within the movement, and the majority of its popular base supported “Syrian revolution” in the face of “the regime that is slaughtering its people.”

That was back in 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring helped sweep the Muslim Brotherhood (MB or Ikhwan) and its affiliates into power in Egypt and Tunisia, and paved the way for the MB-aligned Syrian armed opposition to take control of the outskirts of Damascus. .

But only four years later (2015), the picture was completely reversed: Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a Gulf-backed military coup; Tunisian President Kais Saied turned against the Brotherhood’s Ennahda party and removed it completely from the political scene. And Damascus gradually regained control over the vital parts of Syria.

In the wider region, the regime of Omar Al-Bashir fell in Sudan, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Libya, Yemen, Jordan and Kuwait was severely diminished.

New leadership, a new direction

It was inevitable that these significant region-wide changes would also transform Hamas’ leadership to reflect the new political scene. In 2017, Ismail Haniyeh was appointed head of the Political Bureau, while that same year, Yahya Al-Sinwar, who was released from Israeli prisons in 2011, became the leader of the movement in Gaza.

Seen as a hawk, Sinwar relies on the absolute support of the movement’s military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades, and as such, introduced a new political approach to Hamas’ regional relations.

Although Sinwar’s first move was to reorganize relations with Cairo after a four-year estrangement, by far his most important change was to revive Hamas’ relations with the Axis of Resistance, making it the movement’s top foreign policy priority.

Within a few years, the Hamas leader in Gaza had re-established full relations with Iran and Hezbollah, but its return to Damascus still remains the biggest obstacle.

In order to thaw the ice with Syria, Iran mediated first, followed by Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and more recently, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This deadlock was not broken until after the Hamas operation “Sword of Jerusalem” in May 2021.

Testing the waters

In that same month, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad responded to a greeting from Al Qassam Brigades, conveyed by the Secretary General of PIJ Ziad Al-Nakhaleh, with a corresponding greeting. After that, contacts began to increase between Syrian officials and Hamas leaders.

Syrian sources informed The Cradle that a year ago it was decided to “reduce security measures against a number of Hamas members in Syria, release a number of detainees, and reveal the fate of other missing persons.”

But that didn’t achieve normalcy between Syria and Hamas either. There are those within the latter, it appears, who continue to sabotage progress made with Damascus.

To understand the dynamics of this particular relationship – present and its future – it is necessary to review its stages throughout the years.

From Amman to Damascus

Hamas began paving the way for its relationship with Syria in the early 1990s through visits made by its official Musa Abu Marzouk. In 1992, Mustafa Al-Ledawi was appointed as the head of an unofficial office for the Hamas in Damascus.

The great leap occurred with the visit of the founder of Hamas, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, to Damascus in 1998. This official visit, and the warm reception accorded Yassin, constituted a huge breakthrough in relations, after which the late President Hafez Al-Assad authorized Hamas’ official presence in Syria, providing it with political and security facilities and logistical and material support.

Despite previous bad blood between Damascus and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, notably in regard to the Hama massacre in 1982, there were several prudent reasons for the Syrian government and Hamas to collaborate.

One reason can be traced to the rivalry between Hafez Assad and the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat, who sided with the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War (1990–91) after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August, 1990.

On 21 November, 1999, a plane carrying Hamas’ then-political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal landed at Damascus airport, after being expelled from Jordan and refused a reception by many Arab capitals.

Since then, a number of political bureau members relocated to Damascus, and Hamas’ activities in Syria intensified. Between 2000 and 2010, the relationship further strengthened over several events, including the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the 2005 withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, the 2006 July war between Israel and Hezbollah, and most importantly, the Israeli aggression against Gaza in 2008.

Syrian support

Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who was interviewed by The Cradle in Gaza, talks about an important detail that the media did not mention at the time. When Hamas formed its first government in Gaza in 2007, in which Zahar was foreign minister, “Syria was the only Arab country that recognized the diplomatic red passport issued from Gaza.”

Zahar says: “The Syrian leadership gave us everything. On my first visit to Damascus, we were able to solve the problem of hundreds of Palestinian refugees stuck on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, and Syria adopted the Palestinian calling code (+970), and expressed its willingness to provide support to the elected Palestinian government. For that, it faced an Arab, international, and American war.”

Today, Zahar is the designated official tasked by Sinwar to revive the relationship with Damascus. This was confirmed by sources in Hamas, who said that he traveled to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, and may head from there to Damascus.

These details are meaningful: it means Egypt is spared the censure of allowing Zahar to travel to Syria, and would avoid an awkward situation for Cairo in front of the US, Israelis and Gulf Arabs.

From Damascus to Doha and Ankara

The Syrian crisis that erupted in March 2011 put Hamas in a unique bind of its own making. Fellow Palestinian Islamists in PIJ, for example, did not take a radical position on the “revolution” from 2011 to 2017, and were content with maintaining their offices in Damascus, although its political and military leadership relocated to Beirut due to deteriorating security conditions.

On the other hand, Hamas issued its first statement regarding the Syrian crisis on 2 April, 2011, in which it affirmed its support for the Syrian people and leadership, and considered that “Syria’s internal affairs concern the brothers in Syria… We hope to overcome the current circumstances in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, and preserve Syria’s stability and its internal cohesion, and strengthening its role in the line of confrontation and opposition.”

This wishy-washy statement did not hide the hostile stance of the movement’s members and elites, who all adopted the anti-Syrian narrative. On 5 November, 2011, the Syrian security forces stormed the offices of Hamas, confiscated its assets, and shuttered them.

In early 2012, Meshaal traveled to Doha, Qatar, before holding a scheduled meeting with Bashar Al-Assad. Hamas declared that the meeting “will not be useful.”

Hamas and the opposition

On 8 December, 2012, the movement burned bridges with Damascus when Meshaal and Haniyeh raised the flag of the “Syrian revolution” during a celebration marking the movement’s launch in the Gaza Strip in front of tens of thousands of their supporters.

In a parade held during the celebration, a number of members of the Al-Qassam Brigades wore the opposition flag on their backs.

The Syrian government’s reaction was no less restrained. Assad accused Hamas of actively participating in the war against the Syrian state by supporting Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, and by providing instructions to opposition factions on ways to dig tunnels and fortify them to withstand aerial bombardment.

Other opposition militant groups such as Bait Al-Maqdis, Faylaq Al-Rahman and Army of Huda announced that they were affiliated with Hamas.

Once an Ikhwani, always an Ikhwani

In 2016, Assad said in an interview with Syrian newspaper Al-Watan: “We supported Hamas not because they are Muslim Brotherhood, but rather we supported them on the grounds that they are resistance. In the end, it was proven that the Ikhwani (member of Muslim Brotherhood) is Ikhwani wherever he puts himself, and from the inside remains a terrorist and hypocrite.”

All this may seem a thing of the past, but it still affects the formation of a new relationship between the two parties, especially after the return of turncoat Meshaal and his team a year ago to important leadership positions in Hamas.

Although the majority of the movement’s leadership has changed, the old legacy of Meshaal still weighs heavily on everyone, especially in Damascus. There are many in Syria who still warn the “wound is open;” that Hamas has not yet closed it, but rather wants a “free return.”

Understanding Hamas’ structure

Before explaining Hamas’ recent decision to restore ties with Syria, it is necessary to know how the movement is run to ensure representation and accountability. Hamas has a Shura Council of 15 members, chosen in elections in which cadres of certain organizational ranks participate.

These cadres choose their representatives in the local advisory councils from different regions (West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, territories occupied in 1948, and prisons). As for members of Hamas’ base, they elect their representatives in the General Consultative Council, which in turn elects the Political Bureau.

Despite this ‘healthy democracy,’ the position on Syria produced two contradictory currents:

The first current is led by Meshaal, who was head of the Political Bureau until 2017. It includes Ahmed Youssef, a former adviser to Haniyeh, and Nayef Rajoub, one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas in the West Bank.

The second current has no specific leader, but Zahar was the public face before Sinwar joined him.

Between these two viewpoints, Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk maintain a state of ‘pragmatism’ by taking a middle position between the Qatar-Turkey axis and the Axis of Resistance.

Although the decision to leave Syria was taken with the full approval of the members of the Shura Council and members of the Political Bureau, the entire burden of the decision was placed on Meshaal. The man, who was a personal friend of Assad and Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, became blacklisted by the Axis of Resistance.

Meshaal’s influence

All prior efforts to restore relations between Hamas and Syria were a “waste of time” as long as Meshaal was at the helm of the movement. This was not only the opinion of the Syrians, but of many Iranians as well.

In 2015, for example, when there were media reports about efforts to restore Hamas-Syrian relations, the Iranian Tabnak website (supervised by General Mohsen Rezaei, a leader in the Revolutionary Guards and currently one of the advisors to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) launched a scathing attack against Meshaal.

At that time, Meshaal had refused to visit Tehran if he was not received at the highest levels – that is – to meet specifically with Khamenei. The Tabnak website wrote: “Meshaal and the Hamas leaders lined up two years ago on the side of the international terrorists in Syria… They are now setting conditions for the restoration of relations between Hamas and Iran as if Iran did not have any conditions.”

Since that time, Meshaal and his team have remained staunchly reluctant to even talk about restoring relations with Damascus. In addition to their loyalty (to some extent) to Turkey and Qatar, they were aware that reviving relations would weaken their organizational position within Hamas, and contribute to increasing the influence of their rivals.

On the other hand, these rivals remained weak until 2017, as Meshaal managed to marginalize Mahmoud Al-Zahar who did not receive any influential positions.

Re-joining the Resistance Axis

The formation of the new Political Bureau meant there were now a large number of officials who were not involved in any public positions on the Syrian crisis – such as Sinwar, Saleh Al-Arouri, and Osama Hamdan, who maintained a balanced relationship with all parties.

Zahar told The Cradle that Sinwar was “convinced” of his theses about the shape of the “last battle with Israel.” He added: “I spoke with Abu Ibrahim (Sinwar) for a long time about restoring the bond with the components of the nation that have hostility to Israel, specifically Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and this is the pillar of Hamas’ foreign policy in the future.”

Nevertheless, Zahar believes that Damascus “will refuse to deal with the movement’s leadership, which took the lead during the war.” But it is likely that the Syrians will accept to deal with him personally, which he will seek during his forthcoming visit.

What’s Next?

Well-informed sources in Hamas revealed to The Cradle that the movement’s Political Bureau met this month and made the decision to return to Syria, despite Meshaal’s objection.

The resolution has two aims: first, to build a resistance front in the “ring countries” surrounding Palestine; and second, to establish a maritime line of communication between Gaza and the port of Latakia, in Syria.

The sources also revealed that Jamil Mezher, who was recently elected deputy secretary general of the PFLP, conveyed a message from Sinwar to the Syrian leadership calling for the restoration of relations between the two parties.

After his visit to Damascus, Mezher met with Haniyeh in Beirut to discuss the results. Haniyeh also met Nasrallah, as well as Ziad Al-Nakhaleh in an expanded meeting of the leaderships of Hamas and the PIJ in the Lebanese capital. All these events took place in one week.

According to Hamas sources, Haniyeh informed Nasrallah that the movement has unanimously taken an official decision to restore relations with Damascus. The two sides also discussed the demarcation of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

The sources confirm that “Hamas is ready to simultaneously target gas-stealing platforms from the Gaza sea, in the event that Hezbollah targets an exploration and extraction vessel in the Karish field.”

Hamas sources, as well as an informed Syrian source, however, deny holding any recent new meetings between the two parties. The Syrian source reveals that meetings sponsored by Islamic Jihad were held last year.

What does Syria stand to gain?

On the other hand, Damascus has its reasons for postponing the return of this relationship. Of course, internal reasons can be overlooked if Bashar Al-Assad himself makes the decision.

But it is the current regional situation and the re-formation of alliances that worries the Syrian leadership the most.

It is true that Assad the son, like his father, has learned the ropes in dealing with the MB, but now he has no need for a new headache caused by the return of Hamas. There is no great benefit from this return except in one case: the normalization of Syrian relations with Turkey, Qatar, or both.

On Syria’s terms

Only in this scenario, can bridges be re-built with Hamas. But the conditions for this are currently immature, as this normalization will be at the expense of Syria’s relationship with its ally Russia, whether in the issue of gas supplies to Europe or stopping the military operation that Ankara is threatening against Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria.

Syria, which has already improved its relations with the UAE, and is currently working to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, will not include a “losing card” in its stack of cards now.

It will also not compete with Egypt over a file – the relationship with Hamas – which Cairo considers its monopoly in the region.

Also, Damascus is not in the midst of a clash of any kind with the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement, which took advantage of the exit of Hamas to consolidate their position in the Syrian capital and improve their relationship with Assad.

However, when news broke about the possible resumption of Hamas-Syrian relations, this time Damascus did not launch an attack on the movement and did not comment negatively on the news of the rapprochement and the restoration of the relations – as it did previously.

There is no doubt that the battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem” and the presence of a new leadership in Hamas’ Political Bureau has thawed the ice significantly. But the answer to when full rapprochement will be achieved is a decision likely to be made between Assad and Nasrallah.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Palestinian, Lebanese resistance factions commemorate PRC founder

1 Jul 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Palestinian and Lebanese resistance factions commemorate the martyrdom of the founder of the Popular Resistance Committees and its military wing, Al-Nasser Saladin Brigades, Jamal Abu Samhadana.

From the commemoration of Palestinian martyr Jamal Abu Samhadana on July 1, 2022

The Lebanese and Palestinian resistance factions commemorated Friday the martyrdom of Secretary-General Jamal Abu Samhadana, the founder of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and its military wing, Al-Nasser Saladin Brigades. The commemoration was attended by representatives of various Lebanese and Palestinian resistance factions such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Work must continue until ‘Israel’ despairs: Hezbollah

Settlements and agreements have not brought back one inch of land, while the resistance liberated land in Gaza and Lebanon, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem said during the commemoration.

“We must continue working until Israel despairs trying to draw up its borders, and those who have resistance have the present and the future. The resistance must develop its capabilities beyond any limits,” he underlined.

“The war against Israel will not end until it ceases to exist, and the resistance everywhere is unified in confronting [the Israeli occupation],” the Hezbollah official added.

Samhadana broke partisanship: Hamas

Martyr Samhadana was one of the heroic leaders of resistance on Palestinian soil, said Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. “[He was one of the] turning points in the path of the Intifada, jihad, giving, and sacrificing in the sake of God, then the sake of Palestine and the sake of liberating Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds from the occupying invaders.”

“We are before a Palestinian icon who sacrificed himself, his possession, and his family for the [Palestinian flag] to fly high and to protect the dignity of Palestine and the Palestinian people,” Haniyeh added.

“The martyr broke the barriers of partisanship and the factions. Through his home, he was able to provide protection and shelter for Hamas and Ezzedine Qassam leaders, such as martyr Yahya Ayyash, brotherly leader Mohammad Deif, and jihadist leader Mohammad Al-Sinwar in the nineties, when they were in the iron sights of those close to them and their enemies,” he stressed, praising Samhadana’s role in the Palestinian struggle.

Martyrs, resistance fighters are able to stop collapse: PIJ

“The martyrs and those bearing arms are capable of putting an end to the collapse and bringing back balance to the Ummah,” PIJ leader Ziad Al-Nakhalah said. “They want the future of our region to be an alliance like NATO that extends from North Africa to the Gulf.”

“The martyrs are reshaping life with greater strength and determination than ever. We would not have a dignified life without the martyrs. The Zionist arrogance and corruption fill up our sky, air, and life, and the martyrs go from our ranks to bring an end to the humiliation and create a new world that is void of treacherous people,” Al-Nakhalah explained.

“The martyred founder of the Popular Resistance Committees, great leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, came out to tell all of those who were in the enemy’s corner that this was not their way, and the Palestinian people would not give up their rights and the history of Palestine in exchange for false promises, empty illusions, and agreements that gave the enemy our dreams and our children’s futures,” he said.

The resistance leader praised and thanked the Jenin Battalion and all of the factions that carry out resistance operations against the occupation in the Jenin refugee camp, Nablus, the West Bank, and the occupied territories. He also hailed the martyrs whom the Israeli occupation murdered.

“These are the days of Palestinian resistance that span Gaza and its heroic resistance fighters and the West Bank and Al-Quds. From leader Abu Samhadana in Gaza to leader Jamil Al-Amouri in Jenin. It is the tree of Jihad. It has firm roots, and its branches are in the sky.

PA must end security coordination: PRC

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) still adhere to its principles, PRC Secretary-General Ayman Al-Shishniyeh said, explaining that the principles entailed “confronting the occupation and rejecting any regional alliance that includes the Zionist enemy.”

Al-Shishniyeh then warned the Israeli occupation against its aggressive acts toward Palestinian prisoners and called on the Palestinian authority to “stop [its] security coordination [with ‘Israel’] and stop betting on the failing US administration.”

At the same time as the commemoration in Lebanon, there was a memorial service in the Gaza Strip that saw several resistance factions and mass crowds participating to commemorate the martyrdom of Samhadana.

Exclusive: Hamas ready to implement urgent prisoner exchange deal

28 Jun 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Exclusive sources tell Al Mayadeen that Hamas would agree to release a captured IOF soldier, in exchange for releasing ill prisoners from Israeli prisons.

Exclusive sources tell Al Mayadeen that Hamas would agree to release a captured IOF soldier, in exchange for releasing ill prisoners from Israeli prisons.

Al-Qassam Brigades has four IOF soldiers in custody (Archive)

Exclusive sources told Al Mayadeen on Tuesday that Hamas movement informed mediators that it is ready to implement an urgent humanitarian prisoner exchange deal.

The sources indicated that under the deal, the Resistance would agree to release the captured IOF soldier Hisham Al-Sayed, in exchange for releasing ill prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons.

The sources pointed out that the Resistance also welcomes any international mediation to release ill prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons in exchange for the IOF soldier.

Earlier, Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas movement, published footage showing Hisham Al-Sayed, a captured soldier in the Israeli occupation forces.

The video showed Al-Sayyed lying on a bed and breathing through a ventilator. A photo of his ID next to him was shown toward the end of the video.

It is noteworthy that Al-Qassam Brigades has four IOF soldiers in custody.

Al-Qassam Brigades has four IOF soldiers in custody (Archive)

Exclusive sources told Al Mayadeen on Tuesday that Hamas movement informed mediators that it is ready to implement an urgent humanitarian prisoner exchange deal.

The sources indicated that under the deal, the Resistance would agree to release the captured IOF soldier Hisham Al-Sayed, in exchange for releasing ill prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons.

The sources pointed out that the Resistance also welcomes any international mediation to release ill prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons in exchange for the IOF soldier.

Earlier, Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas movement, published footage showing Hisham Al-Sayed, a captured soldier in the Israeli occupation forces.

The video showed Al-Sayyed lying on a bed and breathing through a ventilator. A photo of his ID next to him was shown toward the end of the video.

It is noteworthy that Al-Qassam Brigades has four IOF soldiers in custody.

حماس في قلب محور المقاومة

الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

فلسطين 

ابراهيم الأمين 

الضغوط التي تتعرض لها حركة حماس من جهات فلسطينية أو عربية أو دولية تكاد تكون الأولى من نوعها في تاريخ الحركة. ورغم أن التنظيم الإسلامي الفلسطيني لم يكن بعيداً عن التأثيرات السلبية لانهيار تجربة الإخوان المسلمين في الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، إلا أن تثبيت حماس قاعدة تفكيرها ونشاطها وبرنامجها على أساس أولوية المقاومة ضد الاحتلال، ساعدها على البقاء في قلب المشهد، وفتح لها الأبواب لترميم شبكة واسعة من العلاقات العربية والإسلامية وحتى الدولية من باب المقاومة.

في السنوات العشر الماضية، غرقت الحركة في موجة من المواقف السياسية التي أدت الى تضرّر صورتها كحركة مقاومة. ومثلما تعرّض حزب الله في لبنان لحملة بسبب وقوفه الى جانب الدولة السورية في مواجهة الحرب عليها، تعرضت حماس لحملة من التيار المقابل، واتُّهمت بمجاراة برنامج الإخوان المسلمين الهادف الى الاستيلاء على الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، حتى إن قواعد من الحركة دعمت الحروب الأهلية التي وقعت في أكثر من بلد عربي؛ منها سوريا.
لكنّ تبدلاً جدياً طرأ منذ ما بعد حرب عام 2014، وتطور الأمر بعد انتخاب قيادة جديدة للحركة عام 2017. وبعد استرداد كتائب القسام المبادرة وجعل الأولوية المطلقة للمقاومة، بدا أن الحركة تتقدم خطوات سريعة باتجاه الخروج نهائياً من دائرة التجاذبات حيال ما يجري داخل كل دولة عربية، وهو ما سهّل لها استئناف التواصل مع مصر ومع حكومات عربية أخرى في بلاد الشام أو الخليج أو المغرب العربي. ورغم أن تركيا سهّلت للحركة إقامة مريحة لقيادتها السياسية، إلا أن حماس بدت أكثر تصميماً على الانخراط في الجبهة التي تعدّ المقاومة خياراً وحيداً وإلزامياً ومجدياً لتحقيق التحرير.

سيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد التفاهمات التي توصّل إليها هنيّة ونصر الله


خلال العامين الماضيين، تقدمت حماس خطوات كبيرة الى الأمام في سياق التموضع ضمن محور المقاومة. وجاءت معركة سيف القدس لتختبر التفاعل العملاني مع القوى الأساسية في المحور. وأظهرت تطورات الأشهر القليلة الماضية أن السعي الأميركي – الإسرائيلي – السعودي – الإماراتي لبناء جبهة سياسية واقتصادية وأمنية وإعلامية تعمل على مواجهة محور المقاومة، أن على حماس تعزيز خيارها وموقعها داخل محور المقاومة. وهي اتخذت قرارات كبيرة، لا تدخلها في صدام مع أحد، وخصوصاً مع تركيا وقطر، ولكن لا تمنعها من تعزيز علاقتها مع قوى المقاومة بدءاً بإيران، وصولاً الى حزب الله في لبنان وأنصار الله في اليمن، وحتى إطلاق اتصالات أولية مع فصائل المقاومة في العراق. ولكن الخطوة الأهم تمثلت في قرار المكتب السياسي استئناف العلاقة مع سوريا، وإفساح المجال أمام الوسطاء الذين ينشطون بين القيادة السورية وقيادة حماس للتقدم أكثر صوب تحقيق المصالحة التي تقول قيادة الحركة إنها تحتاج إليها من أجل تعزيز المقاومة.

حماس اليوم أمام تحديات جديدة. وكلما زاد تمسكها بخيار المقاومة، ستجد أنها أكثر ثباتاً داخل فلسطين وأكثر حضوراً وفعالية في المنطقة العربية، وسيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد الزيارة الأخيرة لرئيس الحركة إسماعيل هنية لبيروت وطبيعة المناقشات والتفاهمات التي توصّل إليها مع الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله بعد سلسلة من اللقاءات بينهما…

Al-Qassam Brigades reveal deterioration of health of IOF soldier

June 28, 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Al-Qassam Brigades will soon publish information that confirms the deterioration of the health condition of one Israeli prisoner held by the Palestinian Resistance.

Al-Qassam Brigades’ military Spokesperson, Abu Obeida

Al-Qassam Brigades’ military Spokesperson, Abu Obeida, announced Monday that the health condition of one Israeli prisoner held by the Palestinian Resistance has deteriorated.

In a post on Telegram, Abu Obeida pointed out that Al-Qassam Brigades will publish information that confirms this announcement in the coming hours.

في تصريح صحفي.. الناطق باسم كـتـــائــب القــسّــــام، أبــو عـــبــيدة: “تدهور طرأ على صحة أحد أسرى العدو لدينا، وسننشر خلال الساعاتِ القادمة ما يؤكد ذلك”.#فلسطين pic.twitter.com/VK7tuV5thc— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) June 27, 2022

It is noteworthy that Al-Qassam Brigades captured four IOF soldiers.

Israeli media reported that the assessment inside the Israeli occupation is that Hamas’ statement about the deteriorating health condition of an Israeli prisoner is a provocation.

New Details Unveiled about Last Year’s Operation Al-Quds Sword

May 28, 2022 

By Staff

The leader and member of al-Qassam Brigades’ Supreme Military Council Mohammad al-Sinwar unveiled new details on last year’s Operation al-Quds Sword, in addition to elaborating on the most important decisions that were made by the Palestinian resistance factions.

Sinwar noted that the last strike the Palestinian resistance suspended at the end of the May 2021 war against Gaza was set to include 362 rockets to be launched towards 14 cities and settlements including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Dimona, Eilat, and Bir Sabe’.

In a TV interview conducted by al-Jazeera Network, the Hamas military wing’s leader said: “When we warn the enemy, indeed every letter and every word have a credit and a field action. We know what pains and what pressures the enemy, and our equations have turned to be very important in which the enemy takes very well into consideration.

Sinwar further uncovered that the Palestinian resistance was trying to kidnap ‘Israeli’ soldiers ahead of Operation al-Quds Sword to force the occupation regime to a swap deal, noting that the resistance dealt the enemy the heaviest blow by striking Tel Aviv and belittling the ‘Israeli’ prestige, and cemented the new equation that “bombing Tel Aviv is a piece of cake.”

The senior Palestinian resistance figure also admitted that a joint operations chamber with the entire axis of resistance was always active all over the days of the war.

Additionally, the joint security chamber highly contributed to important intelligence during the course of the battle, Sinwar made clear.

In response to a question about the Qassam Brigades’ readiness amid the latest ‘Israeli’ provocations, the Hamas official stressed that “The power that we’ve built and are still building, the experiences and lessons we’ve learned, bring us every day a step closer to the long-awaited day of liberating Palestine and returning to it.

Sinwar then addressed all the free people of the world by saying: “The Aqsa Mosque is waiting for you, so do wait for the signal.”

Seif Al-Quds: The battle which ushered in a new era of Palestinian armed struggle

12 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Robert Inlakesh 

The battle fought between the unified Palestinian resistance factions and “Israel” completely changed the trajectory of the region’s conflict with the Zionist regime.

Seif Al-Quds: The Battle Which Ushered In A New Era Of Palestinian Armed Struggle

Although for many, the Seif al-Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) battle, last May, represented significant suffering and loss of Palestinian life, the war fought between the unified Palestinian resistance factions and “Israel”, completely changed the trajectory of the region’s conflict with the Zionist regime.

Lasting between May 10 and May 21, dubbed the “11-day war”, Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip combined their strength with that of the entire Palestinian population inside occupied territories. After consistent Israeli incursions into al-Aqsa mosque last Ramadan, the spokesperson for the al-Qassam brigades [armed wing of Hamas], Abu Ubaydah, gave Israeli occupation forces a 6 PM deadline to withdraw from Al-Aqsa Mosque and stop a far-Right settler march. On the deadline, a barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza, into Israeli settlements surrounding Jerusalem. It was then that “Israel” officially announced it was going to war with Gaza.

Around 270 Palestinians were killed across the occupied territories by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, however, the story of human suffering during the war was not the only significant element. Unlike had been the case in 2014, 2008-9, and even in 2012, all years when the Israeli occupation forces launched military operations against the Gaza Strip, no significant win could be taken from the side of the Palestinian resistance. With the exception of the 2012 war, the other battles between Gaza’s armed groups and “Israel” had resulted in the weakening of the position of the Palestinian armed struggle. During Seif Al-Quds, things were quite the opposite, for the first time, it was a real strategic victory on the part of a unified front of armed factions, making up what has become known as the ‘Joint Room’ of resistance factions.

“Israel” was forced into political and military disarray, as the victory of Seif Al-Quds only further led to the downfall of former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ushering in a new Israeli ruling coalition. “Israel”’s military strategy of attempting to draw the resistance forces into the attack tunnel systems, in order to bombard them and kill hundreds, failed tremendously and completely took the Israeli military by surprise. The Gazan forces had somehow figured out, most likely through intelligence gathering methods, what “Israel” had been planning – a fake invasion announcement – preemptively preparing themselves for such an Israeli attack. Hamas even dictated to the Israelis in “Tel Aviv” when they could come out of their bomb shelters, telling them that they would stop their rocket attacks for 2 hours on one given night. The sight of Israelis listening to the guidelines set to them by Hamas and the other armed factions, made “Israel’s” air defense systems and military strategy seem weak, proving the Zionist forces useless at defending their own population.

Furthermore, the tactics used by the armed groups, such as; slowly revealing new weapons technology, striking everywhere inside the 1948 territories, putting Israeli airports on temporary lockdown and controlling the course of the battle, all showed the entire region the weaknesses of “Tel Aviv”. If little besieged Gaza could foil “Israel’s” military strategies that they had worked on for years, not lose their military capabilities, force “Israel” to accept a non-conditional ceasefire, imagine what a force like Lebanese Hezbollah, or the Syrian Arab Army, would do to them? This was the question in the minds of world leaders at the time. To conclude the battle of Seif Al-Quds, “Israel” did not fire the final shot by midnight when the ceasefire kicked in, it was Hamas that had the last say. 

Seif al-Quds proved for the Palestinians, as well as regional allies of the camp of resistance to “Israel”, that the armed struggle was the only way forward. The Palestinian Authority (PA), based in Ramallah, chooses the path of “security coordination” and refuses to resist “Israel” with violence and has failed to achieve a so-called “two-State solution”. The PA, of President Mahmoud Abbas, has little legitimacy left in the eyes of Palestinians and has no negotiating chips to bring to the table of any talks with the Israeli side, on top of this, no Israeli ruling coalition will have anything to do with the PA and talks of “two-States”. Now, the answer, following the era of Oslo, which really died with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is again the armed struggle and this is clearly what we see, as the rising belief, all throughout occupied Palestine.

A regional coalition, to fight for al-Aqsa Mosque, is now developing in its coordination and capabilities, included in which will be; Hezbollah, Ansarallah, groups from within the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Palestinian armed factions. The head of the Hamas movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has vowed that the war for Jerusalem will begin after Ramadan and that the armed factions in Gaza will be on high alert to thwart Israeli plots against the Palestinian people and Jerusalem’s Holy Sites. 

The battle of May 2021 represents the opening of a new chapter in the conflict with “Israel”, forcing the entire region and beyond to pay attention. Having said this, the questions to now be answered are; How will a regional coalition launch a successful military campaign against “Israel”? When will the Israeli ruling coalition collapse and how will the resistance deal with this? When will the PA change hands from its current rulers or collapse? And, when will the international community begin to start approaching Hamas as a representative of the Palestinian movement and people? The answers to these questions will be determining factors to how the Palestinian cause will once again emerge as a top priority on the regional and international stage. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Iron Dome; “Israel’s” crushed pride

May 10, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Lea Akil 

The Iron Dome, which “Israel” repeatedly flaunted has a 90% success rate, exhibited a series of failures against resistance missiles, especially during the Seif al-Quds battle.

Iron Dome is a mobile air defense missile system designed to intercept short-range missiles and artillery shells.

A year after Seif al-Quds, the Palestinian resistance factions’ rockets played an unforgettable role and are crucial to mention when discussing the lessons from the eleven-day battle of Seif al-Quds. The resistance exhibited an array of tactics and methods, which penetrated the Iron Dome, crushing the “pride” of “Israel.” 

The Israeli occupation has repeatedly flaunted its weaponry, which has exhibited nothing but failures for the entity; especially the Iron Dome.

This month last year, the Seif al-Quds battle broke out between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian Resistance. Eleven days later, the Israeli occupation cabinet settled on a truce in Gaza at 2 a.m. on May 21, 2021, after a three-hour discussion.

Crushed pride in Seif al-Quds

Despite the Iron Dome’s reported success rate of 90%, the Palestinian Resistance was able to circumvent the extremely advanced technology by employing techniques that misled the system, such as overwhelming it with a huge quantity of missiles.

“We utilized the tactic of firing the Sijeel missiles at Askalan, which have a high destructive power, and succeeded in overcoming the Iron Dome,” said al-Qassam Brigades. 

What is the Iron Dome?

The Iron Dome is a mobile air defense missile system designed to intercept short-range missiles and artillery shells by Rafael, a company for advanced defense systems. 

The necessity for an air defense system to shield “Israel” against short-range missiles arose following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in July 2006, when Hezbollah launched over 4,000 primarily short-range 122 MLM Grad rockets, most of which landed in northern occupied Palestine.

The Palestinian Resistance factions’ use of various range missiles to retaliate against the Israeli occupation’s aggression against civilians intensified the urgency.

However, Israeli General Yossi Langotsky, commander of the 81st Technological Unit, believed that the Iron Dome had proven unsuccessful in countering rockets launched by the Palestinian Resistance.

Palestinian Resistance faces Iron Dome 

The Palestinian Resistance adopted a method, which is to overwhelm the mobile air defense missile system with a large number of missiles in record time, which was also reported by Israeli media, along with the firing of 350 rockets in 20 minutes.

Another method adopted by the Palestinian resistance to deceive the dome’s radar was to launch hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades towards the destined targets “from different angles,” according to Alex Fishman, a military affairs analyst in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Israeli military setbacks

During the battle last year, activists on social media documented a defect that affected the Iron Dome, as “its missiles started to fall directly on the settlers’ homes”, marking another humiliating failure for the missile system. 

More recently, the Iron Dome defense military system was activated during a recent firing of Palestinian resistance rockets into occupied regions, but it had two failures.

The first malfunction was exhibited when two independent Iron Dome systems were engaged at the same time, intercepting each other instead of Palestinian projectiles. The second was when the defense system began firing randomly.

Read next: “Israel”, A Tunnel into Oblivion

On another recent occasion, last month, the Iron Dome did not properly function, Israeli media reported following the sound of sirens blaring in the Israeli settlement of Sderot.

Rockets struck Sderot without being intercepted, Israeli media added, noting that the projectiles were launched from Gaza, as “Israel’s pride” failed to detect them.

In response to the failure, US President Joe Biden “affirmed his unwavering support for “Israel” and its defense needs, and welcomed the historic $1 billion allocations to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system.” 

In February, the Israeli occupation failed to bring down Hassan UAV, which flew 70 kilometers inside occupied Palestine in 40 minutes, according to the Israeli daily Calcalist on Saturday.

“F-16 fighters, Apache helicopters, and the interceptor missiles from the Iron Dome all did not succeed in intercepting the Hassan UAV,” the newspaper wrote, adding that “‘Israel’ recorded a security and economic failure at the same time.”

US and anti-‘Israel’ sentiments 

US President Joe Biden held phone talks with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed “joint regional and international security challenges, including threats from Iran and its proxies.”

The White House revealed in a statement that “the President welcomed the visit to Washington this week by the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor. The President also accepted an invitation to visit Israel in the coming months.” 

Biden, furthermore, “affirmed his unwavering support for ‘Israel’ and its defense needs, and welcomed the historic $1 billion allocations to replenish ‘Israel’s’ Iron Dome system.” 

However, the decades-long triumph of “Israel supporters” in Congress is crumbling.

Ilhan Omar accused “Israel” of abusing human rights, saying “We sold $175 billion in weapons last year—more than anyone in the world—to some of the worst human rights abusers in the world,” on Twitter.

“Here’s an idea: don’t sell arms to anyone who violates human rights,” she added. 

In agreement with Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib called “Israel” an “apartheid state” guilty of war crimes.

Read next: US war crime claim ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ – Ilhan Omar

Last year, just months after the fight of Seif al-Quds, the Pentagon tested two Iron Dome systems produced by ‘Israel’s’ Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. in the New Mexico Desert, which was a complete failure.

The same month, Israeli media revealed that the US military has opted not to purchase “Israel’s” Iron Dome missile defense system to prevent air threats.

Resilience vs. the occupation

A year later, Palestinians are still resisting and exhibiting resilience in the face of the Israeli occupation, which has proved several failures in its military and security systems, never failing to exhibit tenacity against the occupation. 

The Palestinian Resistance Factions were able to challenge the Iron Dome, crushing what is referred to as “Israel’s” pride. 

The Iron Dome has exhibited a series of humiliating military setbacks and defeats that demonstrate in terms of strength and capability that the Israeli occupation government falls far short of its claims regarding its “pride” missile system.

The Palestinian resistance not only crushed “Israel’s” pride but also made it clear that nothing will stand in their way when it comes to resistance and resilience. 

Exclusive: Occupation failed in bid to kill Abu Hawash – PIJ official

4 Jan 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net

PIJ official Mohammad Shallah tells Al Mayadeen Net the occupation sees that every time the PIJ pressures the occupation, it wins.

Victorious Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash

Initial information says the Israeli military prosecution informed lawyer Jawad Boulos of its approval of releasing prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash on February 26, meaning he can end his hunger strike, Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior official Mohammad Shallah told Al Mayadeen Net on Tuesday.

It is up to the prisoner to agree to the deal, Shallah said, adding that his approval means the decision went into force, and he can go back to his life. However, he will remain under supervision and detention until his release in February.

The PIJ official said information the group received lately suggested that “the Israelis were determined to kill Hisham, as it sees that every time the PIJ pressured it, it won, and then the PIJ would go to the media, expose the occupation’s crimes, and celebrate its victory.”

“The Israeli occupation was asking mediators with the PIJ to tone down their threats,” Shallah revealed, asserting that the PIJ did not listen to any mediators, “But we are thankful for their efforts.”

According to the senior official, PIJ had fully coordinated with Al-Quds Brigades and Al-Qassam Brigades in case the Israeli occupation “made the decision to drag us into a battle, and we were expecting the occupation to stall until the martyrdom of Hisham.”

Shallah explained that what they expected from the occupation was the reason behind their calls to protests and preparing the people through marches and protests.

“The Israeli occupation got our message, and it was convinced that we were completely serious, determined, and unwavering; PIJ was determined to liberate the prisoner,” he asserted.

Had Abu Hawash been martyred, he stressed, “We would have seen that as an assassination, and there would have been a response.”

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash is expected to end his hunger strike in the coming hours, Al Mayadeen correspondent reported.

“Abu Hawash’s decision to end his hunger strike comes after reaching an agreement that stipulates that he would be freed on February 26,” our correspondent added.

40-year-old Hisham Abu Hawash, from Dura, Al-Khalil, has been on hunger strike for 141 days in protest of his administrative detention as warnings over the deterioration of his health grow.

Abu Hawash has been in prison since October 2020, and the Israeli occupation forces have issued three administrative detention orders against him since his arrest, one of which was issued after the 70th day of his hunger strike.

He is a father to five children, and his total time in prison amounts to eight years, 52 months of which were spent in administrative detention.

Hamas Can Now Hit All ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian Territories – Senior Leader

Dec 16 2021

By Staff, Agencies

A co-founder of Hamas said the Palestinian movement can hit all ‘Israeli’-occupied territories as it has become much stronger since it was formed in 1987.

“Hamas started from scratch and confronted the enemy with stones, and today, it possesses capabilities that threaten all the occupied territories,” Mahmoud al-Zahar told Yemen’s al-Masirah network on Wednesday.

He further described the ongoing war with the ‘Israeli’ regime as open-ended, saying the latest military exercise by Hamas’s armed wing affirms the resistance movement’s readiness to confront the Zionist entity and proves its steadfastness in defending occupied al-Quds and the al-Aqsa mosque.

Marking the 34th anniversary of Hamas’s foundation, the Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, the resistance movement’s military wing, launched a military exercise dubbed “Shield of al-Quds” in the ‘Israeli’-besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

The exercise, according to Hamas, was intended to inform ‘Israel’ that the resistance is fully prepared “in case they think of doing something foolish” in the besieged Gaza strip.

Elsewhere in his remarks, al-Zahar said the new Zionist cabinet wanted to convey the impression that it was tougher on Palestinians in order to gain the support of the ‘Israeli’ settlers.

He added that the Arab countries standing with Palestine had been similarly harmed by the ‘Israeli’ regime, while some other Arab countries had been completely drawn into the normalization project.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain unashamedly signed US-brokered normalization agreements with the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity in an event in Washington in September 2020. Sudan and Morocco followed suit later that year.

On Monday, Zionist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met the UAE’s de facto ruler in Abu Dhabi, becoming the first ‘Israeli’ regime leader to publicly visit the Gulf state. The normalization attempts have been strongly denounced by Palestinians as an act of betrayal.

Shield of Jerusalem’: Qassam Brigades Release Photos of Latest Military Drills (PHOTOS)

December 16, 2021

Al-Qassam Brigades train in Gaza. (Photos made available to local media by the Media Unit of Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

In these photos, released by the media unit of Hamas’al-Qassam military Brigades, Qassam fighters undergo intense military training in an unknown site in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Today’s drills are part of a larger training effort under the name of ‘Shield of Jerusalem’, carried out by al-Qassam and other Gaza-based resistance groups in anticipation of a future Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gaza, a home for nearly two million Palestinians, mostly refugees, has been under hermetic Israeli siege since the democratic elections held in Palestine in January 2006. Since then, Israel has launched several wars on the Strip, killing thousands of people and injuring many more. 

Throughout the years, Gaza’s resistance against Israel has intensified and was progressively strengthened as demonstrated in the last war of May 10.

(All Photos: Made available to local media by the Media Unit of Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza)

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Hamas’ Military Wing Launches ’Shield of Al-Quds’ Drills

December 15, 2021 

By Staff, Agencies

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” announced the starting of “Shield of al-Quds” maneuvers, aimed to enhance combat readiness and simulate different scenarios.

Al-Qassam Brigades added in a statement that these maneuvers are part of a series of ongoing military exercises conducted to simulate various forms of combat.

The military wing further stressed that, with the help of Allah, it will remain the defending sword and the protective shield of al-Quds until the occupation is defeated and the land, people, and sanctities are liberated.

Al-Quds Shield… Al-Qassam’s huge maneuver in Gaza

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Al-Quds Shield maneuver will include a display of new, qualitative military tactics, including missions mimicking the capture of Israeli soldiers.

Haniyeh: Al-Quds is the “center of the conflict with the enemy”

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced a major maneuver it will conduct  Wednesday in the Gaza Strip, which entails a display of new and qualitative military tactics, including missions mimicking the capture of Israeli soldiers.

Al-Quds Shield maneuver is, according to Al Mayadeen‘s sources, a warning to the Israeli occupation that any violation of Al-Quds will lead to an unprecedented escalation.

Al-Qassam Brigades underlined that the maneuver conveys different messages to many parties, at the forefront of which is the Israeli occupation, and will show Al-Qassam fighters’ mastering of Hebrew during offensive missions.

Hamas official Muhammad Abu Askar said earlier these maneuvers were aimed at sending a message to the Israeli occupation that if it thinks of committing any new foolishness in the Gaza Strip, the Resistance has its finger on the trigger.

Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh stressed Tuesday that Al-Quds is the “center of the conflict with the enemy and the capital of the State of Palestine,” noting that “the enemy’s perpetrations in occupied Al-Quds cannot change history and geography, and the Palestinian people are still ready to offer martyrdom for the sake of Al-Quds and the holy sites.”

Haniyeh contended that “Seif Al-Quds (The Sword of Al-Quds) will not be sheathed except with the liberation of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa – this is our pledge, no matter the price,” continuing to say that “protecting Al-Quds demands us as a people and as factions to stand in one trench united against the occupation.”

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“حماس” في ذكرى انطلاقتها: ذاهبون إلى كلِّ خيار من أجل فكّ الحصار وعودة الأسرى

الجمعة 10 ديسمبر 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

في الذكرى الـ34 لانطلاقة حركة “حماس”، قياديو حماس يؤكدون أنّ التطبيع مع الاحتلال هو إنكار لتضحيات الشهداء على أرض فلسطين.  

“حماس” تحتفل بذكرى انطلاقتها الـ34.

أكد القيادي في حركة “حماس” محمود الزهار، اليوم الجمعة، أنّ شعار “حماس” في ذكرى انطلاقة الحركة هو “درع القدس وطريق التحرير”، مضيفاً أنّ “الدرع نحمله والطريق أقدامنا تعرفه”. 

وفي كلمة له ضمن فعاليات انطلاقة “حماس” الـ34 تحت شعار “امتداد لمعركة سيف القدس”، قال الزهار إنّ ” أبطال القدس يتقدمون الصفوف في الدفاع عن الأقصى”. 

وأضاف أنّ “التطبيع خيانة للإنسانية والشعوب التي حملت القضية الفلسطينية في قلبها”، مشدداً على أنّ التطبيع “هو إنكار لتضحيات الشهداء على أرض فلسطين”. 

وتابع الزهار أنّ “يوم الانطلاقة هو يوم نهضة أمة تسعى لتحرير المسجد الأقصى المبارك”، متوجهاً بـ”التحية للقائد العام لكتائب القسام أبو خالد الضيف”. 

ولفت إلى أنّ “وعدنا في ذكرى الانطلاقة بألا نترك أبطالنا في السجون مهما كلف ذلك”، مضيفاً: “نتقدم بالشكر لكل الدول الداعمة للمقاومة على أرض فلسطين”. 

من جهته، قال القيادي في “حماس” مشير المصري أنّ القدس “ستبقى محور الصراع ومفجرة الثورات وهي خط أحمر والدفاع عنها واجب مقدس”.

وتابع أنّ “شعبنا في معركة مفتوحة مع الاحتلال في كل أماكن وجوده”، مضيفاً أنّ “المقاومة الشاملة ماضية بكل أشكالها وفي مقدمتها الكفاح المسلح”.

وأشار المصري إلى أنّ “يد حماس ممدودة لتحقيق المصالحة الوطنية وتعزيز اللحمة وقد قدمت تنازلات في هذا الاتجاه”، لافتاً إلى أنّ “حماس ذاهبة لكل خيار لرفع الحصار ونحذر العدو من التسويف والتضييق على شعبنا”.

وتابع أنّ “معركة سيف القدس شكلت تحولاً استراتيجياً في إدارة الصراع مع العدو الصهيوني”، مؤكداً أنّ “نحن على ثقة بما تملك حماس والقسام من أوراق قوية في مفاوضات تبادل الأسرى”. 

كما شدد المصري على أنّ “التطبيع لن يجرّ على أصحابه إلا الدمار وخراب البلاد”، داعياً “المطبعين إلى ضرورة تصحيح المسار لأنّ التاريخ لا يرحم”. 

من جانبه، أكد الناطق باسم حركة “حماس” عبد اللطيف القانوع أنّ “الزحف الجماهيري الكبير الذي سيشارك اليوم في مسيرات الانطلاقة سيمثل استفتاءً من جديد على شرعية حماس والتفاف شعبنا حول مشروعها المقاوم”.

وأضاف أنّ “حماس اليوم بعد 34 عاماً أقوى شكيمة وأكثر إعداداً وأعظم ثباتاً على مواقفها وأشد إصراراً على تحقيق أهدافها، وهي أقرب لتحقيق الانتصار والتحرير”.

يُذكر أنّ مصادر الميادين ذكرت في وقتٍ سابق أنّ الفصائل الفلسطينية “ستعقد اجتماعاً مطلع الأسبوع لمناقشة إنهاء التهدئة مع الاحتلال”، بحيث سيتناول النقاش “البدء بخطوات التصعيد ضد الاحتلال الإسرائيلي بموافقة جميع فصائل المقاومة في غزة”. 

وذكرت المصادر أنّ “حماس” تتهيّأ للتحرك شعبياً اذا لم تستجب الأطراف والمجتمع الدولي لمطالب كسر الحصار.

“حماس” في قائمة الإرهاب البريطانية.. فلماذا الآن؟

السبت 27 تشرين ثاني 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان

كاتب وباحث سياسي في العديد من المنافذ الإخبارية العربية ، ومنها جريدة الأخبار ، وقناة الميادين الإخبارية الفضائية ، وعربي 21 ، وراي اليوم

يُثبت الغرب أنه في تعاطيه مع المنظمات الفلسطينية ينطلق من ثابتة مفادها محاولة تجريد الفلسطينيين من أيّ أوراق قوةٍ يتيسّر لهم الحصول عليها في مواجهة الكيان الغاصب.

جاء إعلان الحكومة البريطانية عزمها على تصنيف حركة المقاومة الإسلامية “حماس” بكاملها “منظمةً إرهابيةً” أمراً مستغرباً وخارج السياق، في نظرة أوّلية. فرغم السياسات البريطانية المعادية عموماً للقضايا العربية، تاريخياً وحاضراً، ورغم كون بريطانيا قد صنّفت منذ حين الذراع العسكرية لحركة “حماس”، “منظمةً إرهابيةً”، جاء إعلان وزيرة الداخلية البريطانية، بريتي باتل، عن سعيها لصبغ حركة “حماس” بكاملها بصبغة الإرهاب من دون أيّ مقدمات، فماذا إذن وراء الأكمة؟ وكيف ينبغي لحركة “حماس” وسائر فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية عموماً التعامل مع هذه المسألة وشبيهاتها؟ 

يُعَدّ الإجماع الذي تَشكَّل فلسطينياً على إدانة المسعى البريطاني أمراً مبشّراً 

لنستذكر بدايةً المسعى الذي قاده رئيس الوزراء البريطاني الأسبق – السيّئ الذكر – توني بلير أواسط العَقْد الماضي مع حركة “حماس”، ذاك المسعى الذي حاول من خلاله انتزاع تنازلاتٍ من حركة “حماس” في الثوابت الفلسطينية، وإقناعها بإدخال تغييرات في نهجها المقاوم، وكان ذلك من خلال تقديم مغرياتٍ للحركة على شاكلة وعودٍ بفتح قنوات تواصلٍ مع مؤسساتٍ وشخصياتٍ برلمانيةٍ أوروبيةٍ، تفضي إلى فتح قنوات تواصلٍ مع الحكومات الأوروبية وحصول الحركة على اعترافٍ غربيٍ بها. 

وعلى إثر مسعى بلير ذاك، كانت الحركة قد أصدرت ما بات يُعرف “بوثيقة حماس”، التي رغم تخفيف الحركة من حدّة لهجتها التقليدية فيها، واستخدامها في المقابل لغةً حمّالةَ أوجهٍ، لم تتضمن الوثيقة تعديلاً جوهرياً في مبادئ الحركة، وبهذا فشل مسعى بلير وجزَرتُه في تحقيق المراد الغربي والصهيوني منهما، ومن ثم عاد بعد ذلك الاحتلال إلى أسلوب العصا من أجل كسر شوكة المقاومة الفلسطينية، حتى جاءت معركة “سيف القدس” التي فاجأت فيها المقاومة الفلسطينية – وفي طليعتها كتائب الشهيد عز الدين القسام – العالم بمدى الاقتدار الذي وصلت إليه تسليحاً وتنظيماً وتكتيكاً، وحققت فيها المقاومة الفلسطينية بقيادة حركة “حماس” نقلةً نوعيةً في مسار مجابهة المحتل، وفرضت فيها حركة “حماس” نفسها لاعباً رئيساً في الساحة الفلسطينية – وحتى في الإقليم بقدرٍ ما – لكونها الفصيل المقاوم الأكبر والأكثر انتشاراً في الشارع الفلسطيني. 

ويضع البعض مسعى الحكومة البريطانية المستجد في سياق معاقبة حركة “حماس” على هذا الإنجاز، وفي سياق المحاولات الصهيونية لتفريغ الإنجاز الاستراتيجي الذي تحقق في “سيف القدس” من محتواه؛ فما رشح من مسار المباحثات الراهنة حول إعادة إعمار قطاع غزة المحاصر، يشي بزيادة الضغوط على حركة “حماس” من ناحية، وبتقديم المغريات المادية لها في إطار إعادة الإعمار من ناحية مقابِلة، وذلك بالتنسيق مع بريطانيا وأميركا وبعض الدول العربية بكل أسف. فالمطروح اليوم على الشعب الفلسطيني وفصائله المقاوِمة لا يعدو كونه مقايضة الأرض والحقوق الفلسطينية المغتصبة بالغذاء والمساعدات المادية، وهذا أمرٌ جُرِّب مع الفلسطينيين في الماضي ولم ينجح، فهل ينجح اليوم بعدما بات للفلسطينيين سيفٌ ودرعٌ، كما ثبت عملياً في معركة “سيف القدس”؟

لكن في العموم، سواء أكانت دوافع بريطانيا من وراء مسعاها تصنيف حركة “حماس” بكليتها “منظمةً إرهابيةً” الالتفاف على نتائج “سيف القدس” الاستراتيجية كما سلف، أم كانت دوافع أخرى بريطانيةً داخليةً محضةً، ففي كل الأحوال فإنّ الخُلاصات والنتائج سيّان. 

مع كل منعطفٍ، يُثبت الغرب أنه في تعاطيه مع المنظمات الفلسطينية ينطلق من ثابتة مفادها محاولة تجريد الفلسطينيين من أيّ أوراق قوةٍ يتيسّر لهم الحصول عليها في مواجهة الكيان الغاصب، وتأتي المقاومة المسلحة المشروعة في رأس قائمة أوراق القوة الناجعة التي يمكن أن تمتلكها الشعوب الواقعة تحت الاحتلال، ويجيء المسعى البريطاني المستجد ضمن هذه الثابتة، واستمراراً لمساعي توني بلير السابقة، لكن بطريقة التهويل ورفع العصا هذه المرة، لذلك ينبغي على أي فصيل فلسطيني أخذ العبرة، وإدراك حقيقة أن الاعتراف الغربي لن يكون إلا بالتخلي عن نهج المقاومة سبيلاً للتحرير، وأن أيّ أثمانٍ أخرى يعرضها الفلسطيني لن تؤدي إلى قبول الغرب به، وهذه تجربة “م.ت.ف.” الكارثية على القضية الفلسطينية شاخصة أمامنا.

وبناءً عليه، تصير زيادة مراكمة القوة – كما حصل في “سيف القدس” – الطريق المفيد الوحيد أمام حركة “حماس” وباقي فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية لانتزاع حضورها في المعادلات الدولية، فمن يمسك بالأرض يفرض الشروط، بمعزل عن رضى الغرب عنه من عدمه، وهذه تجربة حركة طالبان التي حاربتها أميركا عقدين من الزمن، لتعود بعد ذلك إلى التفاوض معها بحسب معطيات الميدان، هذا بغض النظر عن تقييمنا لمسيرة حركة طالبان سلباً أو إيجاباً، وأيضاً أخذ العبرة ممّا جرى مع حركة المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان، حزب الله، الذي يصنّفه الغرب “منظمةً إرهابيةً”، ولكن مع هذا وجدنا مبعوث الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون مرغماً على لقاء ممثل الحزب، حينما أرادت فرنسا التوسط في تأليف الحكومة اللبنانية، وجرى اللقاء داخل حرم السفارة الفرنسية ذاتها في لبنان.

يُعَدّ الإجماع الذي تَشكَّل فلسطينياً على إدانة المسعى البريطاني أمراً مبشّراً يمكن البناء عليه، ولا ضير في التحرك الدبلوماسي الموسع الذي أعلن عنه رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة “حماس” إسماعيل هنية من أجل الحد من مفاعيل هذا التوجه البريطاني، لكن الردّ الناجع كان في عملية “باب السلسلة” الأخيرة، التي نفّذها الشهيد فادي أبو شخيدم، القيادي في حركة “حماس”، والتي كانت استمراراً لمعركة “سيف القدس”، كما وصفتها فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية.

حماس تنعى الشهيد فادي أبو شخيدم منفذ عملية القدس المسلحة | البوابة

صحيحٌ أن هذه العملية لم تكن رداً مباشراً على مساعي بريطانيا مؤخّراً، إلا أن تصعيد العمل المقاوم في القدس والضفة الغربية، وتعزيز مفاعيل “سيف القدس” والبناء عليها، حتى الوصول إلى إشعال الانتفاضة الثالثة، بهدف إجبار الاحتلال على الانسحاب من الأراضي المحتلة عام 1967 من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، تُعَدّ الطريق الأقصر إلى استعادة بعض من الحقوق الفلسطينية المسلوبة، وإبطال مفاعيل مثل هذه المساعي، من بريطانيا وغيرها. 

هذا كان على صعيد الداخل الفلسطيني، أما على مستوى الخارج، فعلينا الإقرار بأنَّ هذه الخطوة البريطانية الجائرة ستضيف تعقيدات جديدة أمام التحركات الشعبية البريطانية المناصرة للحق الفلسطيني، على غرار التحركات التي شهدناها خلال معركة “سيف القدس”، وذلك إذا ما أخذنا في الحسبان التعقيدات القائمة فعلاً بسبب قوانين “معاداة السامية”، تلك القوانين التي يجري استغلالها بصورة فاضحة لحماية كيان الاحتلال من أيّ انتقادات أو محاسبة عن جرائمه ضد الفلسطينيين. فهل يُعقَل التفريق بين أيّ دعمٍ ذي معنى لحقوق شعبٍ تحت الاحتلال، وبين دعم حقه المشروع والأصيل في مقاومة هذا الاحتلال بكل الوسائل المتاحة، وعلى رأسها المقاومة المسلحة؟

لكن في المحصّلة، يمكن للخارج تقديم ما يستطيع من دعم للداخل الفلسطيني ضمن المتاح في بيئته، وضمن مدى استعداد كل فرد للتضحية، شريطة أن لا يطلب الخارج من الداخل الفلسطيني الالتزام بالسقوف المنخفضة، فتبقى مواجهة المحتل على أرض فلسطين المحتلة وعلى باقي الأراضي العربية المحتلة هي الأصل، سواء أكان الاحتلال صهيونياً أم أميركياً. 

The British Empire Strikes against Palestinian Resistance Group Hamas

November 22, 2021

By Iqbal Jassat

The British government’s discredited Home Secretary Priti Patel has once again emerged as Israel’s leading in-house lobbyist.

Though her credibility was severely dented when as UK Aid Minister she had to resign in 2017 following her scandalous unauthorized meetings with senior Israeli officials, Patel has made a comeback to yet again plunge the British establishment into a deeper foreign policy mess.

She has now announced dramatic plans to prescribe Palestinian liberation movement Hamas as a “terrorist entity”.

Previously only the military wing of Hamas, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000.

In a statement released by her, Patel sounded no different to right-wing hawks in control of the apartheid regime: “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities. That is why today I have acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.”

Though her proscription order was introduced a few days ago and debating and voting were expected to follow shortly, the process will require approval by Parliament.

If approved, showing support for Hamas – including organizing events in support of them and flying the movement’s flag – could see punishments of up to 14 years in prison.

Not surprisingly, Israel has gleefully welcomed Patel’s announcement. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said it “sends a strong message of zero tolerance toward terrorist activities aimed at harming the State of Israel and Jewish communities.”

Absent from most media reports is the bizarre fact that Patel confirmed her moves in a speech on security and counter-terrorism in Washington.

BBC’S diplomatic correspondent James Landale suggested that the decision should also be seen through a domestic UK prism.

“Israel has been pushing for this for some time and the fact it is now happening reflects the deep contacts that Israel has within the Conservative Party.”

No newcomer to controversy, Patel is described by various British sources including Wikipedia as Eurosceptic. She “was a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit during the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union.”

Reports indicate that following Cameron’s resignation, Patel supported Theresa May’s bid to become Conservative leader; May subsequently appointed Patel Secretary of State for International Development.

However, her breach of the Ministerial Code in 2017 when Patel was involved in a shameful political scandal involving clandestine meetings with Netanyahu and fellow government leaders in Israel, ended her tenure.

Though the unauthorized conduct of holding 12 separate meetings during a family holiday to Israel without notifying the Foreign Office or Downing Street had disgraced her, Boris Johnson ignored Patel’s violations by resuscitating her political career.

That the controversy surrounding her turbulent political career would expectedly have cautioned responsible leaders, Johnson chose to cave into the pro-Israel lobby by deploying her in one of the most powerful cabinet positions.

In making this outlandish move, Patel has selectively chosen to remain silent on the fact that Hamas, having engaged in Palestine’s political process and won the legislative elections in 2006, was rebuffed by the British government. In doing so, the UK defied and denied the political choice made by Palestinians.

As expected, Hamas has expressed its “shock and dismay” at the move.

It called on the government to apologize for the Balfour Declaration, which illegally set the stage for the creation of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine in 1917, during the month of November.

The statement added: “The Palestinian people, backed by the Arab and Muslim nations and the free people of the world, will continue their fight for freedom and return at any cost and will not be discouraged by those who failed to support them.

“We are confident that the Palestinians will fulfill their aspirations for freedom and independence sooner or later.”

Given the fact that Hamas espouses Islamic values and that its defense of Masjid al Aqsa is profoundly admired, it is widely believed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims across the world support it.

Britain’s four million-plus Muslim population would be no exception to this. It goes without saying that solidarity with Palestine’s freedom struggle is intertwined with support for Hamas.

But by Patel’s decree, Muslims and millions of British citizens of various faith groups, found to be pro-Hamas will face criminal charges and the prospect of long-term jail.

– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com

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Gaza: Leader of Qassam Brigades Pledges to Free Recaptured Palestinian Prisoners in Future Exchange (VIDEO)

September 11, 2021

Qassam Brigades spokesperon, Abu Obeida. (Photo: video Grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The iconic spokesperson for the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, pledged today to free four Palestinian political prisoners who were recaptured by Israel days after their daring escape. 

“There will be no new (prisoner) exchange deal without the four heroic prisoners that were rearrested by the (Israeli) occupation,” Abu Obeida said in a recorded speech early Saturday. 

Israel has announced that it has recaptured the four Palestinian freedom fighters. One of the recaptured political prisoners, Zakarya Zubeidi, appeared with a disfigured face, signs of Isreali violence that accompanied his arrest. 

Abu Obeida reassured Palestinians that the rearrest of the political prisoners is not enough to hide what he describes as “the great shame that has befallen the enemy and its institutions”. 

Abu Obeida described the daring escape as another example of the “fragility of the security of the enemy”.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Israeli General: 11-Day Gaza War Just ‘First Stage’ of Wider Campaign

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Israeli soldiers work at an artillery unit as it fires near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, on the Israeli side May 17, 2021

Morgan Artyukhina
After the Second Intifada uprising and the 2006 election victory of Hamas in Gaza, Israel was forced to pull all its settlers out of the Gaza Strip, at which time it imposed a cordon sanitaire around the territory that has dramatically impacted access to basic necessities by its more than 2 million Palestinian inhabitants.

During an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 on Thursday, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command, said that the IDF limited its recent war in Gaza due to civilian pressure “on the home front,” but noted the military is “totally prepared” to continue if necessary.

“The operation ended, or at least its first stage did. The next stage will happen if we see that the security situation has changed,” Toledano said, according to the Times of Israel. That “first stage” involved roughly 1,500 airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, which the IDF said targeted members of Hamas and the group’s facilities. The group’s militant wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, fired more than 4,300 rockets and mortars at Israel during the 11-day war.

While most of Hamas’ projectiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, Gaza has few air defenses and the bombs fell on apartment buildings in the densely populated city, killing 254 people, 67 of whom were children and 80 of whom were militants, according to local health officials and Hamas. In Israel, 12 civilians, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets.

Toledano said the IDF tried to “make the most” of the conflict while public opinion in Israel was on their side.

“We don’t have operations like this every week or every month because we understand the burden that this puts on civilians, especially on the home front. And therefore when we launched this operation, we had to make the most of it,” he said, adding that “these wars are complicated in terms of the rockets.”

“We are totally prepared to continue from the 11th day, with the 12th day, with the 13th day. It’s all contingent upon the security situation,” he continued. “If we succeeded with this first stage, that’s great. If we didn’t, we’ll have to continue.”

Israel’s previous major military operations in Gaza, in 2009 and 2014, each lasted several weeks and killed thousands of people, the vast majority of them Palestinians in Gaza, but also saw significantly increased numbers of Israeli civilians killed and injured as well.

In the aftermath of the May 20 ceasefire, both the IDF and Hamas have claimed victory. Hamas called the operation “Sword of Jerusalem” and said its intent was to halt the attacks by Israelis police against worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where several Palestinian families are at risk of being evicted after an Israeli court ruled in favor of Jewish settlers.

However, while the IDF claimed to have destroyed large numbers of stockpiled rockets and Hamas infrastructure and shot down some 90% of the rockets launched, the Times of Israel said after the conflict that the IDF’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls” had not been the resounding victory Jerusalem hoped for.

The wildcard now is the Wednesday formation of a government with New Right chief Naftali Bennett at the helm. While the right-wing figure recently referred to the bombardment of Gaza as part of Israel’s “just war against terrorism,” the kingmaker United Arab List, a small Palestinian party that helped the coalition to reach a majority in the Knesset, could be a moderating factor on some of Bennett’s more aggressive intentions.

A Palestinian party has never before been part of an Israeli government, and leader Mansour Abbas said on Wednesday that he only agreed to join the coalition after reaching “critical agreements on various issues that serve the interests of Arab society,” including education, welfare, employment, economic development, planning, construction, and crime and violence, according to Haaretz, as well as granting official status to Arab Bedouin settlements in the Negev Desert.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been head of the Israeli government for 12 years, warned right-wing members of the Knesset on Thursday to oppose what he characterized as a “dangerous left-wing government” coming into power, saying it was “selling” the Negev to the Bedouin.

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