Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak voiced harsh criticism against Hamas on Wednesday, accusing the Islamist Palestinian movement of being responsible for the shedding of Arab blood.
“How long will Arab blood continue to be spilled, only to hear those who admit to miscalculating the scope and scale of Israel’s response?” Mubarak asked in a speech marking Egypt’s national day to honor its police force.
Mubarak’s comment came in reference to remarks reportedly made by Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, who admitted at the end of the three-week Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that he did not anticipate the scope of Israel’s operation. Similar sentiments were expressed by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at the end of the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
Mubarak went on to say that resistance movements must take responsibility over the welfare of their people. “The resistance must take into account victories and losses. It is responsible for the people, who in turn should settle the score [with the resistance] over the gains it has achieved, but also the sacrifices, the pain and the destruction it has caused,” he said.
The Egyptian president also hinted that Hamas and other militant Palestinian factions are serving the Iranian agenda in the region, especially since the fighting in Gaza ended. “They are trying to take advantage of Israeli aggression to force a new reality on the current Palestinian and Arab situation. A new reality that will alter the equation and reorganize the balance in favor of known regional powers and will serve their agenda,” Mubarak said. His comment came in response to Meshal’s recent calls for the establishment of an alternative Palestinian body, to rival Fatah in representing the Palestinian people.
Mubarak also hinted that he rejects calls to freeze efforts to advance the Saudi peace initiative, which offers Israel normalized relations with the Arab world in exchange for Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders. “Egypt made peace publicly with Israel, and some of those who criticize us maintain warm relations with Israel behind closed doors, and others dearly desire peace with Israel,” Mubarak said.