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Is Hamas Divided?

Volkhard Windfuhr, reporting from Gaza for the German, Der Spiegel, says a division has a risen among Hamas leaders as to next steps in the conflict with Israel. Some are calling for a decisive battle while others believe they time has come to negotiate and find a way to end the death and destruction being visited upon Gaza residents by the Israel bombing. “The Palestinians are just as tired of this war as the Israelis” and he saw several people walk past Hamas men handing out leaflets urging to fight on and shaking their heads as they inquired about the need for bread and peace.Khaled Meshaal, the head of the militant wing of Hamas who is in Damascus, sent representatives to Cairo seeking an end to fighting. The so-called Cairo Initiative has grown in power as a way to obtain a cease fire.

However, Muhammad Nasr, a militant, spoke with Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian intelligence and made clear there would not be a cease fire unless Hamas was given control over the Palestine-Egypt border and refused to extend any recognition of Israel. Under the Cairo Initiative, all rocket attacks would cease and the Palestinian government of President Abbas would assume control over border crossings. It also calls for international observers to be stationed at the border crossings but most Hamas leaders are against this idea.

In the world of those who hate Israel and blame it for all problems in the Middle East there is no ability to grasp how Hamas has helped cause the current problems in Gaza. Does this excuse the over-reaction of Israel to Hamas– the answer is no. But, Hamas must assume some responsibility for what happened.