Hamas: Israel Is Guilty…Just Kidding (Maybe)

UPDATE: Hamas has now denied that it ever stated Arab governments were responsible, saying that the story was “far from the truth.”  Hamas apparently tried to retaliate already, by floating barrels of explosives to Israel.  Israel responded by bombing supply tunnels along the Egyptian border.

[tweetmeme] More information has come to light surrounding the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhoud, the Hamas member who was apparently an important liaison between Hamas and Iran.  Hamas originally accused Israel – more specifically the Mossad – for Mabhoud’ murder, but have recently reversed course.  A report in Haaretz declares that Arab governments and not Israel are responsible for the assassination; the Jerusalem Post notes that the Dubai police still believe that the Mossad could be responsible for the attack. Furthermore, the Dubai police say that the assassination was carried out by a seven-man team, of which four have been identified.

There seems to be something aloof here.  If the police have identified most of the killers, one would think that they would be holding a more specific list of suspects.  Hamas was not allowed to participate in the police investigation, so it is unclear how Hamas obtained the information exonerating Israel and inditing other Arab governments.  Haaretz also does not make cleat how they received the report from Hamas.  Despite what seems like progress with the police investigation and a reported change of stance by Hamas, there are still too many unanswered questions.

Even if Hamas truly believes that Arab governments are behind the murder and not Israel, it will do little to alter to the perception in the Arab pubic that Israel was involved.  Particularly after some very impassioned and emotional speeches by Hamas leadership promising revenge to Israel, most Arabs think that Israel was behind the attack.  If the public does believe that Israel is responsible and Hamas does not retaliate, it could undermine the Gazan government (though it will probably continue to tightly hold power in Gaza due to the lack of alternatives).  On the other hand, if Hamas does retaliate, it could, and probably would, trigger a new round of violence in the region.

Unfortunately, we will just have to wait and see how this develops.

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