The Arab world as a whole has not yet formulated a clear position on the events in Gaza. While the Arab countries fully backed Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle against Hamas, spokesmen and senior officials have refrained from burning bridges with Hamas.
The same trend is evident in the Arab media. Most articles avoided siding clearly with either Fatah or Hamas, calling on both sides to reach an understanding through negotiations. However, some op-eds have harshly condemned Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza, saying it has dealt a death blow to the Palestinian cause and has destroyed any hope of resolving the Palestinian problem.
Talal Salman, owner of the Lebanese daily Al-Safir, wrote: “Palestine has collapsed in a pool of its own blood, and the only ones to blame are those who promised to liberate it.”
In an op-ed titled “The Gaza Earthquake,” Asharq Al-Awsat editor Tariq Al-Humayd wrote: “The preparedness of the Hamas fighters…proves that while Hamas and its leaders were crying out about lack of funds, Hamas was amassing arms and ammunition. Someone is providing it with regular funding, and as a result it appeared to be better prepared than the legitimate authorities. The source of the funds is obviously Iran.”
Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, wrote: “By means of Hamas’ takeover in Gaza, the Iran-Syria axis has managed to destroy the Mecca agreement, to sabotage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and to block the role of Saudi Arabia.”
Jordanian journalist Raja Talib wrote in the Jordanian government daily Al-Rai: “Reality has shown that even if Hamas was originally a Palestinian [movement], it is now completely [committed] to the ideological agenda of Tehran.”
Egyptian intellectual Ma’moun Fandy likened Hamas to a computer virus that threatens to destroy the Arab world. He wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Muslims must understand that the Hamas emirate is a model that the Islamists aim to implant in all their countries….We are now faced with a dangerous virus, in the form of the Hamas Emirate. A symptom of this infection was Hizbullah in Lebanon, and we see some signs of it in Egypt and Algeria as well – especially since the mother virus, the Muslim Brotherhood, has existed in Egypt for ages, in all its potency.”
The conquest of Gaza by Hamas has frightened Arab leaders, demonstrating the rising threat to the status quo in places like Cairo, Amman, and Riyadh posed by political Islam. And it gave Iran yet another foothold on Arab borders. Egypt is trying to contain the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, while Jordan is struggling to hold down the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Brotherhood. Much of the region has been unsettled by Qaeda-minded terrorist groups.