In late June, the Palestinian “Hamas” movement announced the restoration of its relations with the Syrian regime, which drew widespread criticism from the opposition. However, this rapprochement has not stopped the Syrian regime media from harshly criticizing the movement for its “betrayal of resistance” during the recent Gaza events.
The semi-official newspaper Al-Watan published an article on its main page with the broad headline: “Hamas betrayed the resistance and responded to the aggression with statements.” This provoked widespread ridicule because the Assad regime, in its constant claim to resist the “Zionist enemy,” presented only slogans, not only regarding the Palestinian issue but even concerning the repeated Israeli bombardments of Syrian territory in recent years.
While Damascus retains the “right to respond in a timely manner,” it issues this kind of meaningless rhetoric and diverts attention from its internal problems at a time when criticism is rising inside Syria over the increase in gasoline prices and the fuel crisis. This has reached media officials, including the news director of the official Al-Akhbariya channel. The Palestinian issue is the hanger on which the Assad regime has been accustomed for decades to hang its problems.
Al-Watan quoted the advisor in the Republican Palace, Buthaina Shaaban, as saying: “Some have stood against Syria, and we ask today with all objectivity: Are those who stood against Syria and financed this war stronger today on the regional and international scene, or are they weaker?” She then herself replied: “There is no doubt that they are weaker today because whoever weakens Syria weakens himself and whoever weakens Palestine weakens himself.”
The newspaper explained Shaaban’s words, saying: “The three days of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip revealed a complete abandonment by the Hamas movement, which controls the Strip, from the option of responding to the Israeli enemy, as it contented itself with issuing condemning statements and seeking to reach a truce at any cost, without firing a single rocket at the enemy.” It considered that Islamic Jihad movement stood alone in “confronting the aggression.”
Pro-regime supporters have posted criticism of Hamas and described it as treacherous on social media, a matter that has constantly been present since the Syrian revolution in 2011. However, the focus on the Palestinian side, without talking about the relations between the two parties, aroused widespread ridicule because the regime also merely resorted to statements. It is noteworthy that the Islamic Jihad movement is often accused of being closest to Iran, Assad’s main ally in the region, while the Hamas movement maintains relations with Arab countries, including Egypt.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.