Skip to main content

Hezbollah, Hamas repair political ties during breakup

The fraught relations between Hezbollah and Hamas could come to an end as Israel continues its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Lebanon's Hezbollah supporters hold banners and wave Hezbollah (C) and Palestinian flags (L) during a demonstration against Israel's military action in Gaza, in front of the United Nations headquarters in Beirut July 18, 2014. Israel stepped up its land offensive in Gaza with artillery, tanks and gunboats on Friday and declared it could "significantly widen" an operation Palestinian officials said was killing ever greater numbers of civilians. Israeli gunboats lit up the sky with their fire before dawn whil

Despite the political differences that have emerged between Hezbollah and Hamas over their positions on the Syrian revolution in the last two years — which led to a break of ties between them and an exchange of political accusations — the military cooperation between the two groups has not ceased, due to it being institutionalized. The credit here goes to former Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades leader Ahmed al-Jabari, who was killed by Israel during the 2012 war in the Gaza Strip. Jabari hailed from the Shajaiya quarter in Gaza, which has seen the most violent fighting in the recent conflict. The coverage of the current war in Gaza by Hezbollah-affiliated satellite channel Al-Manar has prominently displayed Jabari’s picture on the screen — hereby showing that Hezbollah is present in Hamas’ current struggle, which has grabbed the attention of the Arab street. Sources who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity emphasize that Hamas and Hezbollah have maintained their military cooperation despite the break in their political relations.

The two groups’ political leaders have never enjoyed the same level of cooperation as their military wings. The president of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, turned his back on the Assad-Khameini-Nasrallah axis after leaving Damascus. According to Hezbollah’s accusations, he was involved in the Muslim Brotherhood’s international project to overthrow the Syrian regime and put its national arm in power during the Arab Spring. During Hezbollah’s victorious battle in Qusair, the group corroborated its accusations against Hamas with documents demonstrating that Palestinian guerrilla organizations participated with Syrian opposition fighters in clashes with the Syrian military. Hamas fighters and fighters affiliated with Hamas used some of the combat techniques that it had acquired from Hezbollah against Hezbollah fighters participating in the conquest of the town. Likewise, according to Hezbollah’s reading of the battle, the machines that opposition fighters used to dig tunnels in Qusair had previously been given by Hezbollah to Hamas for the fortification of the Gaza Strip.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.