Tags: Israel | Iran | iran | hamas | peace | process

Hamas-Iran 'Honeymoon' Spells Trouble for Peace Process

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 04:49 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Alarmed by the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, one of its staunchest allies, Hamas is reportedly holding talks with representatives of Hezbollah and Iran in an effort to obtain more assistance.
 
Khaled Abu Toameh — an Arab Muslim who covers Palestinian politics for the Jerusalem Post and other media outlets — describes Hamas as feeling “desperate” over its predicament in the wake of Morsi’s fall, so much so “that it is now seeking to mend fences with Iran.”
 
According to Abu Toameh, this development could have troubling consequences for Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to restart the Middle East peace process.
 
Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, he writes, have expressed “fear” that Hamas, with Iranian support, “would try to initiate a confrontation with Israel in an attempt to embarrass [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas and thwart U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to resume the peace negotiations.”   
 
Hamas has been so worried its own predicament since Morsi’s ouster that it recently dispatched senior operative Mousa Abu Marzouk to meet with Hezbollah officials at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, the Saudi-owned Arabic-language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported.
 
Ahmed Yusuf, senior advisor to Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said he anticipates that official ties with Iran will soon be restored, according to a translation of the report which appeared in the English-language newspaper Israel Hayom.
 
Hamas has paid a heavy price for backing rebel forces working to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime. Tehran and Hezbollah have stood by Assad, a longtime ally.
Both Iran and Syria have been boycotting Hamas, which until recently was receiving substantial financial, political and military aid from those states.
 
Initially Hamas did not appear worried over the loss of its allies in Tehran and Damascus, believing its support from Qatar and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood would enable it to withstand any fallout.
 
Once Morsi fell, however, Hamas concluded its only realistic option was to patch up differences with Tehran.
 
“The honeymoon between Hamas and Iran is about to resume bad news for both the peace process stability in the region,” Abu Toameh writes. “With Iran’s backing, Hamas and other Palestinian groups will do their utmost to foil any attempt to achieve peace between the Palestinians and Israel.”

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