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Hamas Finds Itself Isolated

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | Tag Cloud

by David Haggith

palestinian-us-flag-burningJERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News) -- Signs that Hamas has isolated itself in the world have merged from two fronts. Iran, on Tuesday, pledged that Hezbollah will not open a front against Israel along Israel's northern border. Israel had been concerned that Hezbollah, in an act of solidarity with Hamas, might initiate a war along the Lebanese border; thus, dividing Israel's attention and its forces.

On Tuesday, Saad Hariri, majority head of Lebanon's parliament, said that the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council had informed him that Hezbollah would not attack Israel. While Hezbollah operates as a terrorist organization out of southern Lebanon, it receives much of its backing from Iran. How trustworthy the conveyed message is may be another matter.

So far Hezbollah has taken no aggressive action, but it has been seen strengthening its forces along the Lebanese border in recent weeks. Lebanese analysts say it appears there is division within Hezbollah as to whether or not to take an active role in supporting Hamas. Hezbollah's actions may depend on how well Hamas seems to be holding out on its own. Some senior members of Hezbollah say that speeches are not enough; they must be backed up with ammunition. If Hezbollah allows Hamas to lose this war, it will lose one of its own allies in the region.

Israel remains watchful of Hezbollah, regardless of Iran's assurances. "Our eyes are also on events up north," Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said on Monday. "We are ready, waiting and following all developments."

Why is Hezbollah Holding Off?

Israel has warned Hezbollah and Lebanon that it would consider any attack by the militant group as an attack by the nation of Lebanon, itself, and so would consider Lebanese governmental buildings fair game. Israel expects Lebanon to keep Hezbollah on a short leash. With parliamentary elections in Lebanon scheduled for this spring, Hezbollah doesn't need to alienate the Lebanese populace with actions that bring a difficult war into the heart of their country.

While Hamas is effectively isolated from support by Hezbollah to the north at the moment, it is also isolated by support from Egypt to the south. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born number-two leader of Al Qaeda, criticized Egypt's president, Hasni Mubarak, this week by stating that Mubarak is a "traitor" to the Islamic cause because he has kept Egypt's borders with Gaza closed since Hamas was voted into power in Gaza.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had told Egypt that stopping the movement of supplies through the tunnels at Egypt's border was "the one basis on which you can bring a quick halt to this, otherwise I think we're into a more protracted campaign."

Thus, al-Zawahiri's statement against Egypt's President Mubarak: "At the time when Israeli planes drop their bombs from the air, he closes the borders with his forces so that the plan of the killing of believers in Gaza is fulfilled." (Authenticity of the voice recording by Al Qaeda's number-two has not yet been verified.)

Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported Monday that President Mubarak told European diplomats that Israel must win the war against Hamas, but Egypt denied that report Tuesday morning. A Hamas delegation is currently in Egypt to discuss an Egyptian-backed ceasefire.

Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, blamed Hamas for the current conflict because it ended an Egyptian-mediated truce by firing rockets into Israel. In Gheit's words, Hamas handed Israel an opportunity "on a golden platter."

Hezbollah, meanwhile, is waging a war of words, at least, by encouraging the Egyptian populace to rally against its leaders. "Take the streets in their millions" urged Hezbollah chief, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. "Can the Egyptian police kill millions of Egyptians? No, they cannot."

Foreign Minister Abul Gheit fired back at the Sheikh, saying that the destruction of Lebanon in 2006 by Israel could be blamed on Hezbollah and accused Nasrallah of having "insulted the Egyptian people."

"I found Nasrallah's comments to be objectionable, but I also found them to be ineffective because they had absolutely no effect on the ground," said Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S.

The Saudi government, also pressing for a ceasefire, has said, of the war in Gaza, this "massacre would not have happened if the Palestinian people were united behind one leadership."

So, while Israel's battle has triggered major protests around the world, Arab leaders are not standing up for Hamas, so much as they are trying to obtain a ceasefire in order to keep their own nations from breaking into war.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed the present conflict will not end until all possibility of rocket fire by Hamas into Israel has been brought to an end.

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Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Hamas Finds Itself Isolated