Many who do not know the Palestinian terror group as well as those who stand for Israel had high hopes that Hamas' recent reconciliation deal with its rival Fatah would spark peace in the region. But, writes The Jerusalem Post's Ben Lynfield, the fact that Hamas' first visit after the pact was to Tehran shows that the terrorist organization has not changed its ultimate goal:
Any hopes that Hamas would become more moderate as a result of its reconciliation process with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement have been put to rest by the current visit of its leaders to Tehran and their affirmation there of armed resistance as their unshakable strategic choice.
Indeed, the visit – the first stop for Hamas leaders after inking an Egyptian-brokered agreement ten days ago to advance inter-Palestinian rapprochement – amounts to Hamas setting a clear limit on the scope of the reconciliation: handing over daily governance of the Gaza Strip to the PA, yes; changing foreign policy or long term strategy, no.
“The aim is to show the world they adhere to the choice of resistance and are not putting all of their eggs in the Egyptian basket or that of Abbas,” says Hani Masri, director of the Masarat thinktank in Ramallah.
In a television interview from Tehran Saturday night, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri drew a clear distinction between its reconciliation with Fatah and its policy regarding Israel. “Support of the resistance is one thing and Palestinian reconciliation is another thing, related to the civil side in the Palestinian sphere.” In other words, the reconciliation only covers internal matters.
The security cabinet said last week that before it would negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, the Islamist group must sever ties with Iran, disarm and recognize Israel. By visiting Tehran, the biggest supporter of Hamas’s armed wing the Izzadin Kassam brigades, Hamas’s leaders are flouting all three conditions and brazenly defying both Israel and Abbas...