Rival Palestinian factions Hamas, Fatah unite against Western attack on Syria

Palestinians are opposed to any military intervention in the Syrian conflict; factions say military strike would only benefit Israel.

PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
The Palestinians are opposed to any military intervention in the Syrian conflict, representatives of various factions, including Fatah and Hamas, announced on Thursday.
The factions said in separate statements that a military strike in Syria would be harmful to all Arabs and would only benefit Israel.
Abbas Zaki, a top Fatah official, said that his faction was strongly against Western intervention.
He warned that such a move would harm Arab national security.
“Targeting Syria would mean targeting all Arabs,” Zaki cautioned. “This would only benefit Israel.”
He said that although he had no doubt that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, “the West is using this as an excuse to meddle in Syria’s internal affairs.”
Accusing the United States of employing a double-standard policy in the Middle East, the Fatah official asked where American and other Western aircraft carriers were “when Israel used phosphorous weapons during its aggression against the Gaza Strip in 2008 and 2009.”
Although Fatah has officially avoided taking sides in the Syrian conflict, relations between it and the Syrian government have been tense over the past two years, with some leaders condemning the Syrian regime for killing innocent civilians.
The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank has avoided taking a public stance on Syria and the possible Western military strike.
Hamas has voiced opposition to a military attack.
Syria had expelled Hamas leaders from the country following their refusal to support the regime of President Bashar Assad against the rebels.
Hamas leaders have since come out openly in support of the anti-Assad forces, accusing the Syrian president of perpetrating massacres against his own people.
Still, Hamas spokesman Salah Bardaweel on Thursday said that his movement was opposed to Western military intervention in Syria.
“The Americans do not want the good of Syria or the Syrian people,” he charged. “The Americans only want to serve American and Israeli interests.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad also expressed opposition.
Both warned that the West was seeking to divide Syria into several enclaves to weaken “resistance” against Israel.
Palestinian columnist Talal Okal said that a US-led military strike against Syria would “plunge the region towards huge unrest and anarchy.”
Writing in the PA’s official Al- Ayyam newspaper, Okal complained about US and Western double standards in dealing with the Middle East. He said that the US and Western countries did not take action when Israel used “internationally banned weapons” against Palestinians.