Hamas and Hezbollah’s strained relations

Al-Monitor reports: The conflict in Syria has stressed the relationship between the Palestinian Sunni Hamas movement and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah organization, transforming it from one of “intimacy” between allies to a tension-inducing “quarrel” after Hamas took a position against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah became involved militarily in supporting the regime.

Informed Palestinian sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed to Al-Monitor that members of Hezbollah had asked Hamas members residing in Beirut’s southern suburbs to leave the area at the end of the battle for Qusair in Syria. The Party of God believed that Palestinians from Hamas had participated in the fighting against it and Syrian regime forces.

One source told Al-Monitor on June 10, “Following this tension, Hamas leaders in Lebanon contacted Hezbollah leaders and an urgent meeting was held between the two sides. Hamas strongly denied that Palestinian fighters affiliated with the movement had participated in the fighting in Syria.” In addition, the source offered, “Following these high-level contacts, which involved Lebanese politicians, the two sides agreed that Hezbollah would back down on its demand that Hamas leave Beirut’s southern suburbs, which is Hezbollah’s stronghold. Most Hamas leaders live in this area, and it is home to the movement’s main office.”

On June 11, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hezbollah, published “It’s Forbidden to Criticize Hamas.” According to the story, “Hezbollah had issued an internal circular forbidding party officials from commenting on or directing any criticism at the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas].” [Continue reading…]

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