How are Gaza and Hamas affected by developments in the region? - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

How are Gaza and Hamas affected by developments in the region?

Israeli newspaper making various claims on matters regarding which agreement has been reached in the news story titled, “Turkey-Israel reach agreement,” brought to the agenda Israel-Turkey relations in the Mavi Marmara, Gaza and energy triangle. Turkish officials who responded to the claims with, “Negotiations are ongoing,” denied other speculative allegations. Israel which made the official apology, one of the three conditions Turkey stipulated for normalization, in 2013 and got very close to agreement, yet thinking “Will this benefit us?” they switched to waiting during the various fluctuations in Turkey that started with the Gezi incidents and continued, hence they returned to the table once their plans fell through on November 1. While Turkey's demands, such as compensation and lifting of sanctions on Gaza headlined the negotiations, of course it is only natural for Israel to make counter-demands, but the matter is: how many of those are in the media, and how many of these are true?

According to the claim in the news in question, one of Israel's demands was for Salih al-Aruri of Hamas's military wing to be sent from Turkey; they also wanted Hamas's activities in Turkey to be limited in general. With the agreement, Turkey and Israel would cooperate regarding the supply of the natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. However, there was some truth concerning the Salih al-Aruri matter.

Turkey had also already asked al-Aruri to leave Turkey four or five months ago.

Al-Aruri thus left Turkey voluntarily so as not to cause any trouble.

When Turkey did not officially accept or deny this claim, when the news that al-Aruri left Turkey was re-circulated by Israel, a perception was created to make it seem as though he was newly deported and the claims were true. Meanwhile, another manipulation was created as though Hamas had an office in Istanbul that was going to be closed, but this too was wrong. Some Hamas members who were released after the Gilad Shalit agreement being in Turkey did not mean Hamas had an official office here. These two topics were manipulated and shaped by the Israeli Hasbara or another center as a result of Turkey's public diplomacy almost never entering into a polemic. If Hamas leader Khaled Mashal had never come to Turkey and taken a photograph with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the “Turkey is selling out Gaza and Hamas for natural gas” perception operation may probably have succeeded.

As you know, like many others interested in the natural gas issue, I too have been writing on the hegemony Russia is trying to establish in the region through natural gas, with the approval of the US.

Syria, Iran and Iraq are at the heart of the issue; Russia, to bypass Turkey, wants to connect this line to the one it is going to install in Greece through the natural gas facilities of Israel and South Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This way, it is trying to create a natural gas hinterland for itself in the Middle East.

Turkey is not the only one to oppose this; Israel does not lean toward it either, because if Russia becomes any stronger, it may challenge Israel as well.

Also, the aversion of Saudi Arabia, which almost fully opened the valves and pulled fuel prices to rock bottom, is clear, they too want to stop the Shiite line that is growing stronger under Russian sponsorship.

If we remember that Mashaal was invited to Riyadh this summer for the first time in years, it will not be hard to guess that the unity of al-Fatih and Hamas was not the only topic discussed there.

Besides the Israel and Palestine peace meetings, Tony Blair has also met with Mashaal a couple of times since August. The two, according to news on media, discussed the lifting of the sanction on Gaza. We can deduce that Turkey is not the only one struggling for the sanction and permanent peace.

Since the Hamas front is responding to these calls – let us not forget the worsening tough conditions in Gaza after the Egyptian coup – Hamas has some ideas on this subject and is not fully closing the doors.

So how is the situation within Hamas?

There are differing views on the Hamas side, similar to other places, concerning not only this matter but also the Syria-based developments and transformation in the region.

The debates between those who do not want to ruin ties with Iran because Iran has been sending weapons to Gaza for years and those who want to keep their distance due to its invasion in Syria and bloody politics in the region, are no different to those in every other Muslim country. Since Gaza is oppressed and the victim, other different opinions in this regard are not reflected outside, but information that will spread, spreads one way or another.

Furthermore, there is also suspicion that Iran is trying to buy out Gaza with its arms support and by becoming organized on the inside, it is trying to prevent any developments that will give Gaza breathing space.

In my October 22 column titled “Masjid Al-Aqsa attacks and some questions,” I mentioned an organization called al Sabirin, which separated from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), whose activities in Gaza were banned by Hamas. Al Sabirin, with characteristics similar to Hezbollah, is a group supported by Iran and which is trying to spread the Shiite ideology.

Meanwhile, I also mentioned a Daesh-affiliated group called Sarayyah Shaykh 'Umar Ḥadīd – Bayt al-Maqdis emerged following the couple of rockets thrown in Gaza to the Israeli side.

As you know, when Daesh said, “The things happening in Syria today are going to happen in Gaza. We are going to turn Gaza into an emirate,” it was threatening Hamas, not Israel.

And now I ask, how genuine is the enmity toward Israel or friendship toward Gaza of Iran, which is provoking Israel to attack Hamas, thus leaving no room for Gaza to breathe, and buying them like slaves with the arms its sends to try and grow its affiliated groups on the inside and continue its Shiite expansionism here too?







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