Hamas Divided Over Continued Fighting

Locals want to stop violence; exiled leaders say keep it up
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 16, 2009 12:00 PM CST
Flares are seen during an Israeli military operation in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Friday Jan. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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(Newser) – Hamas is split over its next steps in the continuing bloodshed in Gaza. Local leaders want an end to the violence, while exiled bosses in Syria want to keep battling until all their conditions are met, the Economist reports. Outside leaders are putting pressure on Hamas, particularly its Syrian arm, to settle with Israel, which maintains the upper hand in fighting, though it's expected to declare a ceasefire soon.

Diplomats on both sides of Egypt-led talks have suggested that Hamas is growing more open to the idea of a truce. That attitude may stem from a perception that its “only real card,” sympathy from the outside world, isn’t swaying Egypt and other outside countries in Hamas’ favor. Still, within the Arab world, moderates are having a tough time justifying their stance amid widespread anger at Israel. Ultimately, Hamas will probably win the “moral” battle while Israel takes the “strategic” fight, the Economist says.