Syria Protests Must Not Compromise Stand Against Israel, Says Hamas

Hamas releases statement expressing support for Syria's ruling hierarchy in group's first public reaction to Syrians' anti-government protests.

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Reuters
Reuters

The Palestinian group Hamas sent its support on Saturday to Syria's ruling hierarchy and said unprecedented protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule must not compromise Syria's "rejectionist" stand against Israel.

In the first public reaction to protests demanding political freedoms and end to corruption in Syria, during which at least 60 people have been killed, the Iranian- and Syrian- backed Islamist group toed the official Syrian line, saying the stability of Syria was priority.

"We hope the current situation will be overcome in the way that achieves the aspirations and the wishes of the Syrian people and maintains the stability of Syria and its internal integration and reinforces its role in the side of confrontation and rejection," a Hamas statement said.

"In the light of all of this we reaffirm our standing beside brotherly Syria, beside both its leadership and people," the statement said.

There had been doubts whether Hamas, which has built a reputation as a liberation movement among its Palestinian constituents, would publicly back Syria in what has been seen as a campaign of repression against Syria's democrats.

The statement said Syria, which has been seeking to resume peace talks with Israel with U.S. help, supported Hamas "in the most difficult and the most critical times. It was not deterred by the pressures and it upheld the path of resistance and rejection in the region."

Assad touted Syria as a champion of Arab rights in a speech on Wednesday.

Commenting on the protests, Assad played down the possibility of any fundamental transformation to Syria's autocratic political system, which he has kept intact since succeeding his late father, President Hafez al-Assad, in 2000.

The elder Assad cultivated ties with Hamas even as his forces crushed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, killing thousands of people, and backed Lebanese militias as they mounted fierce attacks on Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

Syria hosted exiled Hamas leaders after they were expelled from Jordan in 1999, including the group's leader Khaled Meshaal, who still lives in Syria.

Syrian anti-government protesters march in the northeastern town of Qamishli on April 1, 2011Credit: AFP

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel

ISRAEL-VOTE

Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism