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Hamas pledges not to intervene in the affairs of Arab countries amid Qatar crisis

June 10, 2017 10:46 P.M. (Updated: June 12, 2017 10:45 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf state of supporting “terrorism,” the Hamas movement -- named as one of the groups allegedly receiving Qatari sponsorship -- pledged Saturday it would not intervene in the affairs of any Arab countries “regardless of the pressures.”

"Hamas' weapons will be directed only at the enemy (Israel), and Hamas will maintain its policy of not intervening in Arab countries' affairs regardless of pressures or events,” Deputy Hamas chief Mousa Abu Marzouk was quoted in an official Hamas statement as saying.

Disagreements among Arab countries, “are their own business,” he said, though the question of Palestine "will remain the core issue for everybody, and support for the Palestinian plight should be indisputable regardless of any situation that may arise."

Abu Marzouk added that Hamas has come under pressure in the past from the Arab world and internationally, and said “we will always deal with such pressures responsibly. We won't be in disagreement with any country.”

In a similar statement Friday, Hamas politburo member Khalil al-Hayya that “the Palestinian armed resistance is directed only towards the Israeli occupation, and that the Palestinian resistance will not deviate from this track,” he said, reiterating the faction's rejection of its designation as a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and several other countries. Hamas identifies as a Islamist national resistance movement.

Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammed bin Abd al-Rahman al-Thani reportedly said Saturday that, “The US views Hamas as a terror organization, but to the rest of the Arab nations it is a legitimate resistance movement. We do not support Hamas, we support the Palestinian people.”

“Hamas’s presence in Qatar doesn’t mean there’s support for Hamas in Qatar," he said, highlighting the fact that Qatar also cooperates with the occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to promote Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Following the abrupt severing of political ties with Qatar, Hamas slammed the development as a "politicized" attempt to force Qatar to abide by the interests of Israel and the United States.

Ahmad Yousif, a former senior Hamas figure who remains close to the movement's leadership, described the political developments as part of an “American-Israeli-Saudi coalition” in the region -- a sentiment expressed by other commentators owing to US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel in recent weeks and Saudi Arabia’s growing ties with Israel over the years.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir had stated that Qatar would have to cut support to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood if the country wanted to restore diplomatic relations.

Qatar has also reportedly expelled members of Hamas from the country owing to the pressure, however, Hamas denied these claims, saying several leaders left Qatar “willingly” in order to avoid adding to Qatar’s difficulties.
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