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Arab World Losing Patience With Hamas


Alongside condemnations of the Israeli counterattack and international calls to end it, Arab media voiced sharp and extensive criticism of the Hamas leadership's handling of the crisis. Such reactions came both from Hamas' natural rivals and from its former allies in the resistance axis, from which it has been expelled – reflecting Hamas' isolation in the Arab world.

Media in Saudi Arabia and in Al-Sisi's Egypt – the countries considered to be the leaders of the Arab world's moderate axis and the main rivals of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement, to which Hamas belongs – accused Hamas of taking unreasonable and irresponsible steps, of trading in the blood of the people of Gaza, and of exposing them to inevitable attacks. The Egyptian press was particularly vociferous in its criticism of Hamas and especially of the head of its political bureau, Khaled Mash'al, who recently called on the Egyptian army to come to the Palestinians' aid. An Egyptian pro-MB journalist even wrote that the Egyptian army has local problems to deal with, more pressing than the liberation of Jerusalem.

The media in Syria, which is likewise resentful of Hamas and its leaders due to their support for the rebellion against President Bashar Al-Assad, also slammed this movement, saying that it has abandoned the resistance in favor of a Western plan to destroy the Arab world, and that Mash'al has chosen to manage the war not from Gaza but rather from Doha, the capital of Qatar, a country known for its support for the MB and "in whose palaces the Israeli and Western intelligence cells nest."

This report will focus on criticism of Hamas in the Arab press of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Egyptian Columnist To Khaled Mash'al: Leave Your Hotel In Qatar And Come Fight From Gaza

After Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mash'al criticized Egypt's Gaza policy by saying, "We expect the Egyptian army [to use its] spirit of heroism for the sake of its Arab nation,"[1] many columnists in the Egyptian media responded with fury. For instance, in an article titled "Why Isn't Khaled Mash'al Giving His Life In Gaza?", columnist Hamdi Razaq argued that, while Egypt is defending the Palestinian cause, Hamas has "sold" it to the MB, and Mash'al himself is enjoying a life of luxury in Qatar. He wrote: "Where is your spirit of heroism, Abu Walid [i.e., Khaled Mash'al]? Join your brothers. Leave Doha's hotels, which you have enjoyed, and go down into the trenches and fight the Zionist enemy that murders the fruits of our loins. Mash'al, we are tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have sold for cheap to an MB gang whose way you followed even though they have lost their [own] way. We want neither a reward nor gratitude from you. Brother Mash'al, Egypt is in a state of war. We have enough problems [of our own]. We are sufficiently [busy with] the plots of your  brethren, the members of your movement. You have bankrupted us. We are starving for bread while you eat delicacies on the tables of Doha's lowlifes... Egypt understands this message well and intends to extinguish the war you sparked, Mash'al... Remember the stature of the commander of the Egyptian army, who loses sleep to defend our children in Gaza and who opened the [Rafah] crossing to save them, while you languish in your bed in Doha!"[2]

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