Most of the mainstream Arab world is calling on Iran to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Arab states. So, it is curious that at this precise time, Iran has chosen to agree to resume good relations with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and has failed to make headway in sporadic reconciliation talks with its bitter rival Fatah, which controls the West Bank.
Iran and Hamas had a period of distance after Hamas leader Khalid Mesha’al broke ties with his long-established patron, Bashar Al Assad in Syria and moved the Hamas headquarters to Qatar. After the Arab Spring in 2011, Hamas became increasingly isolated, although during Mohammad Mursi’s Islamist presidency, the group won close cooperation with its fellow Islamists in Egypt. This wider regional access was quickly reversed in July 2013 when the current leadership took over in Egypt and also the new ruler acceded in Qatar, who is considerably less friendly to the radical Palestinian group.
Hamas is looking for backers, but it is making a grave mistake to look for backing from Tehran. Iran does not have the best interests of the Palestinians at heart and it is anxious to manipulate events to its own advantage. Hamas will be better off sitting down with Fatah and concentrating on reuniting the Palestinian structure, so that the entire Palestinian nation can face Israel with one voice.