Iran orders Hamas to keep fighting, reject ceasefire

Monday, January 12, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli military commanders and Egyptian officials say the Hamas rank and file in Gaza are weary and desperately want a ceasefire, but Iran and the Damascus-based Hamas leadership reportedly have other plans.

A senior Egyptian government official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that two top Iranian envoys recently visited the Syrian capital and warned Hamas leaders against signing on to an Egyptian-French ceasefire proposal for Gaza.

"The Iranians threatened to stop weapons supplies and funding to the Palestinian factions if they agreed to a cease-fire with Israel," said the official. "The Iranians want to fight Israel and the US indirectly. They are doing this through Hamas in Palestine [sic] and Hizballah in Lebanon."

Cairo also views Iran's meddling as a means of diverting attention from its nuclear program.

And when the world's eyes do refocus on Iran's nuclear program, Tehran is "hoping to use the Palestinian issue as a powerful card in future negotiations wth the Americans. They want to show that they have control over Hamas and many Palestinians," explained the Egyptian.

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