Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades will keep on digging – Gaza’s Grave?

Fahwad Al-Khadoumi (nsnbc) : Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades announced the death of one of its fighters in a tunnel accident. The brigades issued a statement, saying they would continue their siege-busting tunneling activities and armed resistance. Others would argue that the Al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas are part of the nexus that prevents Egypt from permanently opening the Rafah border crossing to bust the Israeli siege on Gaza. 

gazatunnel1The armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood associated Hamas, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, issued a statement on their website, announcing the death of the 23-year-old Al-Qassam fighter Anwar Abu Al-Ghalban. The young fighter from Khan Younis reportedly died during a tunneling accident.

The Brigades announced that they would continue their operations, including the digging of “siege busting tunnels”. The statement also stresses that the Al-Qassam Brigades would continue their military training and armed resistance until Israel ends its occupation and the liberation of Palestine.

Palestinians do, under international law, have the right to resist against an illegal and protracted Israeli occupation.

Moreover, the Israeli blockade against Gaza has detrimental effects on the population of the coastal Palestinian enclave. While tunnels are being used for the smuggling of weapons, the tunnels are also providing a lifeline for the smuggling of food, medicines and other necessities.

The Al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas’ involvement in internal Egyptian affairs, would some argue, has on the other hand prevented Egypt from normalizing the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Hamas is internally split with regard to its involvement into internal Egyptian affairs.

Senior Hamas legislator Yahia Mousa "Hamas will pay a heavy price... "

Senior Hamas legislator Yahia Mousa “Hamas will pay a heavy price… “

In July 2013 senior Hamas legislator Yahia Mousa warned against Hamas’ involvement in Egypt saying that Hamas, as an Islamic movement, supports Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, but that Hamas should refrain from getting involved in Egypt’s internal affairs. Mousa warned that “Hamas would pay a heavy price”.

The heaviest price is, arguably, being paid by the vast majority of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who are suffering the consequences of Egypt’s security concerns.

Egypt has been combating an armed insurgency in North Sinai sice the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. One of the most active insurgencies is the ISIS / ISIL affiliated Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis (ABM).

Prior to the ouster of Morsi the ABM was a relatively obscure, Muslim Brotherhood associated insurgency with the capacity to conduct small-scale terrorist attacks, and to assassinate individual police or military officers.

Subsequent to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi the ABM underwent a rapid evolution to a major insurgency by integrating elements of HamasAl-Qassam Brigades, ISIS / ISIL, as well as by cooperation with other ISIS-linked insurgencies.

YOUM7 (archives)

YOUM7 (archives)

The Egyptian administration of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi has repeatedly stressed that Egypt would like to normalize the opening of the Rafah border crossing as soon as possible.

Egypt’s precondition for the permanent opening of the border crossing is that the Palestinian side of the border is controlled by the Palestinian government and not by any of the political or militant factions.

One of the contributing factors to the stall-mate with regard to the opening of the Rafah border crossing is the failure to establish a functioning Palestinian unity government.

Arguably, another function that prevents the opening of the Rafah border crossing is that Hamas and Fatah in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively, perpetuate their de-facto one party dictatorships that prevent a broad, democratic popular front from confronting the illegal Israeli occupation and blockade.

F/AK – nsnbc 30.08.2015

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