Hamas makes bid for Muslim Bortherhood membership
So what was all that hype about a so called reconciliation deal with Fatah, and the merger into the PLO? Hamas has now officially made a bid to join the Muslim Brotherhood.
Recently, In October a Muslim Brotherhood delegation visited the Gaza Strip for the first time. The party had been curbed by US-aligned Hosni Mubarak but it has been empowered by a strong showing in elections since the president's ouster.
Meanwhile, Hamas had taken a "neutral stand" in the internal unrest in Syria. Mashaal is closing up the political offices in Damascus, and looking for greener pastures to setup. Haniya was quoted as appealing for calm in Syria before starting his tour: "We have called for preserving Arab blood and for using dialogue and understanding between all the components of Arab countries." Jordan was speculated for a while, but King Abdullah and the Saudis went into denial mode and said no, out of fear of the Iranian influence. Rumors also have Egypt as a possibility; with the recent Islamist takeover anything is possible now.
During the stop in Egypt, a part of Ismail Haniyeh's first official regional tour since Hamas seized power of Gaza in 2007; he was treated like royalty by the masses. Haniyeh met with Muslim Brotherhood chairman Muhammad Badie on Dec. 26 during his visit to Cairo, where he reiterated that his organization will never recognize Israel and will never give up on Jerusalem. He also called for the establishment of a "Jerusalem Army," an army of Arab nations who will conquer Jerusalem from the Jews.
The tour of Arab capitals is to call upon Muslims and Arabs to fight against what he called the "Judaization" of Jerusalem, as the leader of the Gaza-based terror movement shone a spotlight on a new phase of incitement toward violence. During a forum entitled "The Jerusalem Forum" being held in Khartoum, Gaza's leader is also expected to hold talks with the leaders of these countries on rebuilding the Gaza strip, which suffered considerable damage during a major Israeli offence in 2008-2009.
[This "anti-Judaization" campaign is part and parcel of a concerted effort by both Hamas and its "moderate" Fatah allies to deny Jewish history and the authenticity of the millennia-old claim of the Jewish people to their capital. This same week, the announcement that a tourist center might be built on the site of the ancient City of David in Jerusalem where archeologists have made important discoveries about the history of the ancient Davidic kingdom generated protests. Palestinian Arabs are offended that this significant historical treasure will be preserved not just because it sits in a part of the city where many Arabs live but also because its presence reaffirms the historical claims of Israel and the Jews to the place.]
Haniyeh repeated the comments during talks Saturday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where he met along with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, President Omar al-Bashir. Some 59 members of Hamas' Shura Council also met to discuss creating a separate branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.
Haniyeh will be in Turkey on New Years Day, to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his residence in Istanbul. Erdogan's government insists that peace cannot be achieved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if Hamas is excluded from the process. The Turkish premier has rejected the "terrorist" label for Hamas, defending the Islamist group as "resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land."
With Tunisia, Qatar, and Bahrain left on his whirl wind tour, it will be interesting to hear what Haniyeh declares next.
Jeff Treesh is @Iranaware