Just three days after Hamas publicly lambasted Hezbollah for its military involvement in Syria, a Hamas official denied relations between the two movements were cut and instead categorized them as “good.”
“Hezbollah fights the [Israeli] occupation, and our continuous relations with it are based on that principle. We maintain good relations,” Salah Bardawil told Hamas daily Al-Resalah on Thursday.
Relations between Palestinian-Sunni Hamas and Lebanese-Shiite Hezbollah soured following Hezbollah’s admission late May that it was supporting Bashar Assad’s military campaign to crush his opposition, led by the Free Syrian Army.
On June 10, Bardawil told Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat that Iran’s support for Bashar Assad had affected Hamas’s relations with it, but had not led Hamas to cut relations with Iran.
Hamas was partially based in Damascus and allied with Assad until 2011, but top officials from the movement decamped for the Gulf shortly after the Syrian civil war broke out, with the terror group eventually coming out publicly against Assad and opening a fissure.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah deputy secretary general Naim Qassem defended his movement’s staunchly pro-Assad position during a memorial ceremony Wednesday, saying that the war being fought in Syria was an inseparable part of the battle against Israel, aimed at “preventing the Israeli danger from spreading to our homes and at severing the link between the terrorists.”
On the Palestinian front, Bardawil accused rival movement Fatah of conducting secret negotiations with Israel. He said that Fatah’s reliance on the negotiation track, coupled with its continuous harassment of Hamas members in the West Bank, made reconciliation virtually impossible.
“Considering Fatah’s insistence on negotiating with Israel and attacking the resistance in the West Bank … realizing reconciliation will be very difficult,” Bardawil said.