Hamas Leader Under Fire for Praising Iran’s Support

Radical Palestinian group, Hamas chief, Khaled Meshaal (2nd R) introduces his deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk (L) to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) during their talks in Moscow, 03 March 2006.

JAFFA, Israel – Hamas has come under fire from Palestinian and Syrian pundits and social media users after deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk lauded Iran for its support for Palestinian resistance movements.

In an official statement, Abu Marzouk said that no other country matches Iran in terms of the financial, logistical and military aid it has given the Palestinians.

It is yet unclear whether the statement marks a change in the movement’s relationship with the Islamic Republic.  Hamas has been mostly cautious in recent years to keep its distance from Iran in part because of larger ideological conflicts along the Shiite-Sunni divide brought to head by the so-called Arab Spring.

Abu Marzouk was criticized left, right and center for his pro-Iran comment.

Anwar Gargash, a former UAE minister and a detractor of Iran, tweeted: “Dr Moussa Abu Marzouk’s comments about Iran’s support brings back Iranian influence on the movement to the agenda at a very sensitive regional crossroad, just when Hamas’ position seems confused and conflicted.”

The Saudi News 50 website launched a hashtag #Hamas_acquits_Iran and wrote: “Hamas acquits terrorist Iran by saying that it supports the Palestinian resistance.” Many commenters used the hashtag to bash Hamas.

Yasser Zaatreh, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood Jordanian commentator and an associate of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal wrote that “barring a few exceptions, the Arab countries are hostile to Hamas. Many seek to weaken it, but praising Iran while it fights against our nation is not the right move forward.”

Islamic scholar Ahmad Abu Farha tweeted: “What Hamas does by being obsequious to Iran isn’t just a political statement. It’s flagrant political prostitution. Iran’s outreach to the world is not meant to serve the Muslims.”

Pro-Hamas Algerian journalist Anwar Malek wrote: “If that’s the logic that guides Hamas, and what they care about is money at the expense of the people butchered by Iran, we no longer recognize it as a movement that can return to reason.”

“What would be Hamas’ position if the Syrian opposition took money and support from Israel, while thanking them for their support against Assad the criminal?” Kuwaiti MP Walid Altabtbie tweeted. “How do they expect us to react to their praise of Iran, our nation’s enemy?”

Many of Hamas’ detractors were Saudi, among them high-profile activist Aon Alaon, who wrote: “Hamas overlooks Saudi Arabia’s support and the blood of Saudi martyrs who died in Palestine before the corrupt Hamas cropped up.”

Renowned Saudi journalist Abedalaziz Alkhames tweeted: “Oh, the irony! It looks like Hamas’ real colors are only now being shown. We know it, and our view of it has always been more accurate than others’.”

“It looks like political expediency comes even before religion,” Khaled Gahtan, a Syrian activist, wrote. “The humiliation and submission Hamas leadership is willing to take is endless, despite Iran’s policy of death and destruction.”

Saad Alghneam, a member of the International Council of Islamic Lawyers, tweeted: “Hamas continues to hesitate. Whoever fails to answer the question ‘what is Iran’ is a fool.”

 Ben Ewed, a top Saudi activist, wrote: “In 2007, the Kingdom brought Hamas and Fatah to Mecca where they agreed to join hands in resistance, for which they got $1 billion in aid. The next day Meshaal flew to Tehran and turned his back on Fatah.”

 He later added: “Thank Allah Hamas is not ours and we are not Hamas’. It is Iran’s, and Iran is theirs.”