Mixed Signals: Hamas Condemns bin Laden’s Assassination while PA Issues Praise

with the news of Osama bin Laden’s assassination at the hand of the US Navy, Hamas issued a statement of condemnation while the PA welcomed the news.

The Hamas chairman in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, proclaimed bin Laden a “Holy Warrior” and martyr and accused the US of “oppressing and shedding Arab blood.” He also asked G-d “to offer him mercy with true believers.” Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib welcomed the news, saying the death “Is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and methods – violent methods – that were created and encouraged by bin Laden and others”.

The split in reactions were not only limited to the government but could be seen in the street as well. Many praised the death as they blame bin Laden for the violence against Arabs and Islam. However, many condemned the death, hoping that the news was untrue. In addition, many warned that the position held by bin Laden would be filled by another.

The split reactions to the demise of the Saudi-born terrorist mastermind comes a week following the news that Hamas and the PA would sign an agreement that would unite the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has condemned the truce as counterproductive as negotiations from their viewpoint would be impossible, considering Hamas’ oath to destroy Israel at all costs. The US, however, has shown no reaction to the news.

Other reactions include Iran, who has called for the US to leave the Middle East immediately while condemning Israel as a terrorist state. The Muslim Brotherhood issued similar sentiments, demanding that the US leave Iraq and Afghanistan as bin Laden’s death removes “one major reason for violence in the world”. The Taliban also issued their reaction, warning of attacks against the Pakistani government, the US and Pakistani President Zardari.

In other countries across the Middle East, reactions varied from joy to anger. However, Saudi Arabia, bin Laden’s country of birth, refused any comment, saying it was “too early” to issue any statement.