Hamas Conducts an Independent Foreign Policy

(Ha'aretz) Zvi Bar'el - Hamas' top standing in Gaza is due to more than just the amount of weaponry in its possession and its intensive policing of the population. Hamas conducts an independent foreign policy as if it were a state. In 2012, its high command left Syria over its critical stance against the Assad regime, a step that led to a long break with Iran. Egypt under President Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood, whom Hamas helped escape from an Egyptian prison, opened Egypt up to Hamas. Turkey gave it a strong financial framework, as did Qatar. Hamas has kept developing its relations with Egypt, culminating in the near-full reopening of the Rafah border crossing. The Hamas leadership's pledge to prevent the passage of militants from the Sinai terror groups into Gaza, where they had previously been given refuge and aid, and its strict inspection of those entering and leaving via the Rafah crossing, created something like a security pact between Hamas and Egypt, despite the criticism from Salafi organizations in Gaza that Hamas had become the Egyptian border patrol. Islamic Jihad maintained ties with Iran until 2015, when Tehran reduced its aid by 90% because Islamic Jihad refrained from sending forces and military instructors to the Houthis in Yemen. In 2016, with mediation by Hizbullah, relations between Islamic Jihad and Iran were repaired, and Tehran gave it a new cash infusion, though not as large as before. Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad has not been able to create a network of political and economic ties with states in the region; it relies on private donations and the aid it continues to receive from Iran.

2019-11-15 00:00:00

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