[Hamas] Speaking in many tongues
By Zvi Bar'el
Many statements, whether direct quotes or paraphrased remarks, were attributed this week to people who were referred to as "Hamas spokesman," "a spokesman for the opposition factions," "an Army of Islam spokesman" and other unknown sources. All of these were in addition to official spokesmen such as Dr. Ghazi Hamad, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan.
One thing became clear from the abundance of spokesmen: Not only is the Hamas movement not speaking in one voice, but it also doesn't know what to say. On Monday it was already clear that two different entities were speaking: Hamas and the opposition factions. Within the latter, there was someone speaking in the name of the Saladin Brigades and another in the name of the Army of Islam. The official Hamas spokespeople, who only found out after the fact about the "military platforms" publicized by these organizations, tried simultaneously to explain their significance and to deny that they were the ones who had publicized them. They spoke about the opposition factions as a separate group.
For instance, when Hamdan, the Beirut representative, was asked about the significance of the concept of "closing the case" of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, he responded: "No one knows if he is alive or dead. But the opposition has values that prevent it from killing prisoners." These comments make it clear that Hamdan doesn't know anything concrete. Haniyeh, who called for negotiations, appears to be in the same situation.
A Hamas source told Haaretz this week that "anyone who says he knows something for certain is a liar. I can say one thing for certain: Our movement has lost an extremely important value: its unity. We need to take a serious look at ourselves after the affair ends, and especially ask how it happened that we lost control over the management of the military and political struggle. How did it happen that on the eve of the signing of the prisoners' document, 15 minutes before we could announce political partnership with Fatah, control over the course of events was wrested from us by street gangs?"
No lack of surprises
Quite a bit has already been said about the dispute between the leaders of the external (Damascus-based) Hamas movement and those of the internal one (based in the Palestinian territories), MORE....