Friday, 5 July 2013

Fatah calls for overthrow of Hamas in Gaza

In a surprising development, the main Palestinian organisation Fatah has called for the overthrow of Hamas.  The Jerusalem Post reports:

PA President Mahmoud Abbas was one of the first Arab leaders to congratulate the Egyptians on the ouster of Morsi.
In a letter to acting President Adli Mansour, Abbas congratulated him on the appointment, expressing hope that he would fulfil the aspirations of the Egyptian people to “live in freedom, dignity and stability.”
Abbas praised the Egyptian army and its commanders for preserving the country’s security and preventing it from slipping toward the abyss.
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a top aide to Abbas, saluted the Egyptian army for the “wonderful achievement.”
Referring to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Rahim hailed the Egyptian army and people for refusing to be intimidated by those who “sow sedition, civil war and sectarianism.”
Jamal Nazzal, a senior Fatah representative, called on Palestinians to overthrow Hamas in the wake of the events in Egypt.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf expressed hope that the ouster of Morsi would aid efforts to end divisions among the Palestinians.
“We hope that the historic victory of the Egyptian people’s will would help our people get rid of the destructive division and restore national unity,” Assaf said in an indirect reference to Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip.
Several other Fatah officials expressed hope that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would wage a revolution against Hamas.
“Now it’s Gaza’s turn to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood branch,” said one official. “The dark era of political Islam has ended. The era of hypocrisy and lies has ended and Gaza will soon witness its own revolution against Hamas.”
Abdel Rahim Jamous, a Fatah affiliated political analyst, urged Hamas to seize the opportunity and “return to Palestinian national legitimacy before it’s too late.”
Addressing the Hamas leadership, Jamous said: “You have no future with the Muslim Brotherhood. They have failed even before they started. They are losers. Wake up before it’s too late.”
Palestinian reporters in the Gaza Strip said on Thursday that top Hamas officials seemed to be very worried by the ouster of Morsi.
Unlike the PA leadership, Hamas did not rush to congratulate the Egyptian army and opposition.
Speculation had already been rife as the LA Times had already observed:

Like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has struggled to balance its Islamist and militant roots with the realities and responsibilities of governing. And like its Egyptian brethren, Hamas has been criticized for failing to deliver. Gaza’s 1.5 million residents remain locked in poverty and isolation, in part because Hamas is widely labeled a terrorist organization and isolated by Israel and the much of the West.
Already some Hamas rivals from the Palestinian secular faction Fatah are predicting that Gaza residents also will rise up.
Hamas spokesman Ihab Ghussein insisted the group is not worried, labeling talk of a revolt “ridiculous.”
Still, it's an abrupt turn of events for Hamas. When Morsi ascended to power a year ago, Hamas leaders were almost giddy, confidently predicting that the Brotherhood’s rise would give them new leverage in confrontations with Israel and Fatah, which is based in the West Bank. They expected that closer ties with a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt would throw open the Rafah border crossing, end Gaza’s international isolation and keep Israel’s military at bay.
The paper continues:

Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood also helped protect Hamas from Egypt’s military, which always distrusted the Gaza group. With Morsi’s ousting, Egypt’s military has reasserted itself as the dominant political force in Egypt.
“Hamas is the biggest loser,” said Mukhaimar abu Saada, political science professor at Gaza City’s Al Azhar University. He said Hamas leaders are already concerned that Egypt’s interim government will impose tighter border controls and crack down on smuggling tunnels used to import fuel.
“Don’t forget that the Egyptian opposition views Hamas as a party to the conflict and accuses it of destabilizing the Sinai,” Abu Saada said. “Hamas now fears that the continuing crisis in Egypt will lead to further actions against it.”
Certainly Hamas does have a credibility gap over protesting about Morsi's downfall since it has been in power since an election in 2006, has cracked down on Fatah and begun a programme of Islamisation that has not been welcomed by large sections of Palestinian society.

Meanwhile the Modern Tokyo Times looks at the effect of Turkey:

Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey will be watching events carefully in Egypt because while both nations have differing democratic traits and internal issues; the recent mass demonstrations in Turkey clearly highlight that something is amiss. Former President Morsi (Mursi) of Egypt who was removed from power had hoped to control all the important leverages of power within the institutions of this country. If Morsi had succeeded then the Muslim Brotherhood in time would have tightened the noose around democracy in order to implement a Sharia Islamic state.
It is abundantly clear that approximately 30 million people in Egypt were not going to allow this to happen. Therefore, vast numbers of people demonstrated against the Muslim Brotherhood power grab in Egypt before it was too late. In Turkey, recent demonstrations against Erdogan share similar traits even if the democratic system in this country is much more mature based on its longevity.
Erdogan and Morsi both have a huge powerbase based on people who voted for both respective individuals. However, Erdogan and Morsi share traits of desiring to turn the clock back in order to create Islamic states based on the values they believe in. Also, while Erdogan claims to be firmly entrenched within the democratic system his behavior is often at odds with how democratic leaders behave.
The fightback against Islamism has begun.

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