Hezbollah leader vows support for Hamas despite Syria rift
BEIRUT — Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged the Lebanese Shiite group’s support for the Hamas rulers of Gaza in the face of Israel’s air war Monday, insisting it was unaffected by differences over the conflict in Syria.
“Some are saying that Israel is punishing Hamas for they think it abandoned Iran, Syria and Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said in a speech beamed to supporters on a big screen in the Shiite southern suburbs of Beirut.
“Iran, Syria and Hezbollah will not give up on the people of Gaza and its resistance, and this is our religious and moral and humanitarian obligation,” he said.
The 20-month uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has sparked a growing rift between it and Hamas.
Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, from which Hamas sprung, were among the first to participate when protests erupted against Assad’s rule in March last year.
As peaceful demonstrations turned into an armed rebellion, reports said Hamas had quietly moved its offices from Syria, evacuating most of its members, while publicly denying it had shifted its headquarters.
The rupture went public when a news presenter on Syrian television accused Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal of having “sold out the Palestinian resistance” after he expressed his support for the Syrian uprising.
The Hezbollah leader called on Arab leaders on Monday to send arms to Hamas, mocking Gulf Arab states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia that have championed arming the Syrian rebels.
“Israel now is betting on the consumption of rocket stocks of the Palestinian resistance so it is an obligation to open the borders and send rockets and arms to the resistance in Gaza,” Nasrallah said.
“Some who are sending arms shipments to Syria don’t dare send a bullet to Palestine because of Israel’s presence,” he added.