Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Hamas’s claim that it “won” the last war with Israel has become the subject of ridicule and mockery by many Arabs who are not afraid to call out the Iranian-backed terrorist group for lying to the Palestinians and the rest of the world.

The Arabs are also not afraid to hold Hamas responsible for the massive destruction and the loss of the lives of innocent Palestinians and Israelis in order to serve the interests of its masters in Iran.

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Scenes of Palestinians celebrating the Hamas “victory” sparked a wave of condemnations in the Arab world, especially in the Gulf states. The reactions of the Arabs to Hamas’s self-proclaimed victory shows that many in the Arab world are not fooled by the terrorist group’s propaganda machine. The Arabs are aware that Hamas’s only interest is to appease the mullahs in Tehran for the sake of milking them for more money and weapons. The Arabs understand that this just is another farce by Hamas and particularly Iran.

Prominent Arab journalist Amjad Taha, an expert on international affairs and a popular commentator on the media and social media networks in the Gulf, burst into laughter when asked during a TV interview if he thought Hamas had scored a “victory” against Israel.

“In the war in the Gaza Strip, no one won,” Taha said. “The children and women on both sides lost. Does victory mean the use of women and children as human shields? Does victory mean the death of 269 Palestinians and the injury of 8,900 in the Gaza Strip?”

Taha pointed out that some of the Palestinians killed during the 11-day war were victims of Hamas rockets: “Out of 3,700 rockets fired by Hamas [into Israel], 400 rockets fell on residential areas in the Gaza Strip and killed women and children.”

“How strange. We live in an era where defeat has become victory. Bon appetite to [Qatar-based Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh for the Mercedes car, the Rolex watch and the Armani suit. Bon appetite to Hamas for trafficking in the blood of innocent Palestinians. As usual, Haniyeh won, the people lost.”

Echoing the widespread belief in the Arab world that Iran was using its Palestinian proxies, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to extract concessions from the US and other world powers at the Vienna negotiations to revive the 2005 Iran nuclear deal, Taha added:

“The Hamas militias in the Gaza Strip belong to Iran. What these militias recently did was serve Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Iran wants to use the Palestinian issue as a winning card at the Vienna negotiations. Iran wants to use the Palestinian issue to force the US to lift the sanctions on Iran in return for ending the security escalation which threatens Israel. The terrorist Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, said, ‘We thank Iran for giving us money and weapons.’ Iran’s money is intended to help the mercenaries to continue trafficking with the Palestinian issue. Iran’s weapons are for destruction, not construction.”

The negotiations between Iran and the world powers over the 2015 nuclear deal resumed last week in Vienna with the goal of bringing the US back into the agreement.

Emirati journalist and writer Mohamed Taqi was even more blunt in his criticism of Hamas’s alleged victory and its alliance with Iran.

“God’s curse on all those who exploited the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people in return for personal glory and money,” Taqi said in a video he posted on Twitter. “God’s curse on the traitors who sold the Palestinian issue to give it on a silver platter to the mullahs of Iran.”

Like many Arabs, Taqi denounced the Hamas leaders for living in luxury in Qatar and Turkey while sacrificing their own people in the Gaza Strip to appease Iran.

“Which ‘resistance’ are you talking about, Haniyeh, when you and your children are staying in hotels in Qatar and Turkey?” Taqi asked, addressing the Qatar-based Hamas leader who was seen travelling in a new Mercedes car in Doha during the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“Which ‘resistance’ are you talking about when you are sacrificing your people while you and you children are living the good life? Then you ask the Arabs, whom you have accused of treason, to rebuild the Gaza Strip while you are presenting your ‘victory’ to Iran?”

Moroccan writer and political analyst Saeed Al-Kahel accused Hamas of turning the Palestinian issue into a “commercial asset.”

Hamas, Al-Kahel wrote, “does not want the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to end because it wants to achieve political and financial gains. Hamas has turned the Palestinian issue into a commercial asset that generates funds from various sources and ensures prosperity and wealth for its leaders.”

Al-Kahel, too, shares the view that Iran is using its Palestinian allies’ campaign of terrorism against Israel to get the US to lift the sanctions on Iran. “Hamas has turned the ‘resistance’ into a pressure card in the hands of Iran, which is exploiting it in its conflict with the West in order to lift the sanctions over its nuclear program,” Al-Kahel wrote.

“Therefore, whatever the outcome of the armed confrontation with Israel, Hamas will not declare its defeat. Rather, it will make it a victory, even if it celebrates it among the ruins and coffins. The more killing and destruction, the more Hamas’s income increases while the Palestinians continue to suffer from siege and poverty. What is worse is that political Islamic organizations are proud of the illusory victory achieved by Hamas. None of these organizations asked about the nature of this victory and its gains for the benefit of the Palestinians and their cause: how much land was liberated, how many prisoners were released, and how many [Palestinian] refugees returned? None of this has been achieved, and will not be achieved as long as Hamas controls the Palestinian decision-making process. Palestinian blood has become cheap for Hamas, as well as for the Islamic Movement [in Morocco], whose leaders were quick to congratulate the Hamas leadership on a ‘clear victory.'”

Samir Ghattas, a former Egyptian parliament member and head of the Egyptian Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies, also warned against Iran’s attempt to use Hamas to obtain gains from the US and other world powers during the Vienna negotiations.

Ghattas noted that Iran tried from day one of the fighting between Israel and Hamas to assert its presence in the battlefield by issuing statements in support of the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. The statements, he said, included a letter sent by Major General Esmail Qaani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, to Hamas arch-terrorist Mohammed Deif, pledging full support for the Palestinian war on Israel.

“Iran wants to achieve qualitative and strong progress in the Vienna negotiations, and is playing the card of the factions and militias loyal to it in the region, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine in order to confirm its regional strength and weight,” Ghattas said in a clear warning to the US administration and the world powers negotiating with Iran. “Iran exploited Hamas and the Islamic Jihad for its own benefit only, and if it wanted the interest of the Palestinians, it would have contributed to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip,” he added.

“Tehran has not contributed or made donations for humanitarian or reconstruction projects in Gaza, but rather contributed to financing the purchase of weapons and others in order to turn Gaza into a weapon center that threatens the security of the region. The recent Gaza war and the similar wars that preceded it in 2008, 2012 and 2014 were just opportunities that Iran exploited politically and militarily for its own interests only, not for the interest of the people of Palestine and Gaza, but at the expense of their blood.”

Muhammad Mujahid Al-Zayyat, a consultant at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies, said that Iran’s support for Hamas during the war with Israel was aimed at sending a message to the West that the Palestinian terrorist groups have become a bargaining chip for Iran in its dealings with the West.

The recent Gaza war, Al-Zayyat argued, is another attempt to show strength on the part of Tehran and hint that it will go to the Vienna negotiations with a Hamas “victory” in its hands in order to lift the sanctions against it and achieve what it wants from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Egyptian expert, in other words, is joining other Arabs in warning the Biden administration and the Western powers against allowing Iran to be rewarded for Hamas’s war of terrorism against Israel.

Saudi political analyst Abdul Rahman Altrairi also scoffed at Hamas’s claim that it won the war. He pointed out that Iran’s Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist militia had previously declared victory over Israel after causing massive destruction to Lebanon’s infrastructure during the 2006 war with Israel.

Altrairi reminded those Westerners who are working hard to appease Iran that the Iranians are responsible for “destruction and corruption” in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Altrairi warned the West that one of Iran’s goals during the Gaza war was to destroy the peace treaties between Israel and some Arab countries and “reposition Israel as an enemy of the Arabs.”

Emirati preacher Dr. Waseem Yousef also condemned Hamas for its hypocrisy in dealing with the Arabs:

“Hamas fired rockets from people’s homes, and when the [Israeli] response came, Hamas cried and shouted: ‘Where are the Arabs, where are the Muslims.’ Hamas turned Gaza into a cemetery for innocent people and children. Hamas burned the flags of most Arab countries, insulted all Arab countries, and did not respect anyone.”

It is refreshing to see voices from the Arab world ridiculing Hamas for declaring victory against Israel while bringing disaster to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It is also refreshing to see how many Arabs are aware of the dangers of Iran’s involvement with Palestinian terrorist groups that seek the elimination first of Israel, then of them.

The most important message coming from many Arabs, however, is one that is directed to the Biden administration and the Western powers, alerting them to the fact that Iran is seeking to take advantage of the recent war in the Gaza Strip to intimidate them into making additional concessions to Tehran. It now remains to be seen whether the Biden administration and the Western powers will heed this warning or continue to bury their heads in the sand, pretending that the mullahs in Iran, in exchange for massive bribes from the US, will magically change their savage stripes. They did not last time; what will happen to the region if they again do not?

{Reposted from the Gatestone Institute website}

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Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.