BEIRUT – The recent cease-fire enacted between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has begun to raise questions whether there is a larger strategy under way by the worldwide organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Egyptian and Palestinian branches, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Middle East analyst Ibrahim al-Amin, who also is editor-in-chief of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, said that peace between Israel and Hamas was essential so that the Muslim Brotherhood could focus on governance for the next six years unencumbered with other issues.
“Leaks from internal discussions by the worldwide MB (Muslim Brotherhood) leadership, described as the most important ever held, indicated a decision was made to give absolute priority at present to consolidating Islamist rule in some countries and acquiring power in others, and to avoid antagonizing foreign powers in the process,” he said.
“It has been widely said that the MB want a full term in power, meaning between four and six years, in which no other issue would be allowed to preoccupy them,” he said. “The most viable way of ensuring that with regard to Palestine is through a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel.”
The Egyptian presidency under Mohamed Morsi, the first Brotherhood-ruled Arab country, and Hamas have been tested, and survived. That has raised questions by al-Amin and other regional analysts whether the Israeli attacks on the Hamas leadership that killed its military chief, Ahmad al-Jaabari, were meant to blunt the Brotherhood’s influence throughout the Arab world.
The rise of the Brotherhood in its capacity of having one of its own now president of Egypt suggests that the Palestinians are becoming more of a force to be reckoned with, as demonstrated by Hamas’ response to repeated Israeli air attacks.
At the same time, Hamas’ new claim to fame has emboldened it now to stand up even more to the Israelis to the point, as reflected recently by Osama Hamdan, the senior Hamas representative here in Beirut, when he said: “We are entering the phase of the liberation of Palestine…the notion of Return: The return of the refugees to the homeland and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came.”
Observers say that this reflects a renewed militancy that could ultimately put it in conflict with the Brotherhood, to which Hamas belongs, and its overall strategic goals. In negotiating the immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Morsi had to walk a fine line of showing backing for the Hamas but at the same time giving a nod to the West and its demands.
Morsi, now as president of Egypt and no longer just the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, had to show more of a compromise, which observers believe may have upset some of the more militant elements of Hamas.
Al-Amin points out that this then has set up a real challenge for the Hamas leadership.
“If it opts to go along with the line of the worldwide MB, it will court an explosion within its own ranks,” he said. “This is a serious prospect.
“It has been raised in internal discussions which showed that differences between Hamas’ various factions are not superficial, with the military wing – and Jaabari in particular – opposed to any truce with the enemy,” he said. “This could lead to a major crisis for the resistance in Palestine.”
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