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Hamas: Participation of Arab states alongside Israel in NATO drill betrayal of Palestinian cause

US army servicemen take part in the Sea Breeze drill at the shooting range in the Kherson region of Ukraine on July 2, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement has denounced the participation of four Arab countries alongside Israel in a US-led NATO war game, describing it as a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause against Israeli occupation.

Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the 32 participants in the Sea Breeze 2021 naval drill in the Black Sea cohosted by the US Navy's Sixth Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy.

Israeli naval forces are also taking part in the annual maritime maneuver, which began on June 28 and will end on July 10. The involvement of over 5,000 troops, 32 vessels, 40 aircraft, and 18 diving and commando teams in the exercise makes it the largest since its launch in 1997.

The US Navy said that the 12-day drill will include, among other things, “amphibious warfare, land maneuver warfare, diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special operations integration, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue operations.”

In a statement released on Monday, Hamas said, “We condemn the participation of Arab and Muslim countries in military maneuvers with the Zionist regime.”

Such involvement is “a betrayal of the Palestinian nation and its just cause,” it said, calling on the Arab states to immediately withdraw from the event and boycott any joint civil and military activities with the Zionist regime.

“Partnership with the regime occupying the Palestinian territories not only legitimizes the existence of this regime, but also strengthens its evil plans to Judaize Jerusalem al-Quds, annex the [Palestinian] lands, displace the Palestinians from their homes and commit atrocities,” the resistance group said.

Hamas said that it is, instead, looking forward to seeing Muslim nations mobilize their forces and participate in military exercises in defense of the Palestinian nation against oppression and in preparation for the great battle for liberating Palestine.

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