Washington Pressures Beirut not to Grant Hamas Leaders Residency
Asharq Al-Awsat 15 June 2017
London- The US embassy in Beirut is exerting pressure on Lebanese officials
to avoid granting residency permits to Hamas officials who were lately
expelled from Qatar based on a request from Washington and Tel Aviv, Western
diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Lately, Doha expelled from its territory several of the Palestinian movementís
senior members who are involved in military operations in the West Bank. The
expulsion includes three members of Hamasí 18-member politburo. However, it
does not involve former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.
Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, who is accused by Tel Aviv of conducting
operations against Israel from the West Bank, is considered one of the main
officials whom Qatar lately expelled.
Last year, Turkey had also requested that Arouri leaves its territories as
part of talks launched between Ankara and Tel Aviv on correcting the two
countriesí troubled relations.
Israel believes Arouri was behind the abduction of two Jewish teenagers in
the West Bank in the summer of 2014.
Palestinian and Israeli sources have confirmed that Arouri and another
official called Moussa Doudine, were expelled from Qatar. However, Hamas
insists on denying the reports.
After the Qatari officials informed Hamas leaders that the five officials
need to leave the country, the movement discussed the option of moving its
leadership to several other countries, including Malaysia, Lebanon or Iran,
the sources said.
The sources added that US diplomats lately contacted Lebanese officials and
prevented them from granting residencies for the five Hamas officials.
The US diplomats also warned the Lebanese officials against providing
protection to any Hamas official who is expelled from Doha.
Early this month, reports uncovered that Doha officially asked Hamas not to
use its territories for directing any activities against Israel.
The Qatari decisions to expel Hamas leaders came after US President Donald
Trump launched an attack on the movement, describing it a terrorist group
and criticizing all those providing a cover to a terrorist organization.