Conflict & Justice

Syria accuses Hamas of selling out to Israel


Exiled Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal addresses a meeting in Cairo with some 40 Palestinian prisoners who were freed by Israel but were to be deported overseas in October.



Syria made a further move towards isolation by criticizing Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, during a state TV broadcast late Monday.

A Syrian journalist delivered an editorial that accused Meshaal of turning his back on his former protector, Reuters reported.

“Syria embraced Meshaal like an orphan looking for shelter after other countries shut the door in his face,” a female journalist said, according to Reuters.

“As long as you are in an emotional state regarding the suffering of the Syrian people, Meshaal, why did you not give the same due attention to the people of Palestine ... in occupied territories?”

The militant group Hamas fled Jordan in 1999 and found refuge in Syria.

Once there, it formed an “axis of resistance” with Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah against Israel, the United States and any Arab nation seen as too accommodating to them.

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However, as the Syrian civil war degraded and fighting drifted into Palestinian refugee districts, Hamas moved its headquarters to Qatar earlier this year.

Reuters said about 500,000 Palestinians live in Syria.

Hamas also shares Sunni Muslim roots with rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The TV editorial suggested Hamas and Meshaal must have sold out to Israel, The New York Times reported.

“The only possible interpretation for their sudden welcoming attitude today is that you are no longer wanted by the occupation (Israel), and no longer a threat to their safety," the TV journalist said, according to The Times.

The editorial also comes after Meshaal appeared in Turkey, which has long petitioned for greater international involvement to stop the Syrian uprising.

Damascus also accuses Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US of backing the rebels, The Times reported.

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