On Monday, a spokesman for Hamas called upon members of the terrorist organization to carry out terror attacks in the West Bank.
“We call on the men of resistance in the West Bank, primarily the Al-Qassam Brigades, to fulfill their duty in protecting the prisoners on hunger strike by targeting the occupation soldiers and its settlers,” Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran wrote on his Facebook page Monday.
“The occupation must pay a high price in the blood of its soldiers and settlers until it is persuaded to solve the issue of prisoners on hunger strike. This is everyone’s task, on the individual and organizational levels,” he wrote.
The article notes that on Sunday “EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told the Herzliya Conference that Israel should support the new Palestinian government ‘in the interest of a future peace deal and of a legitimate and representative government.'”
The Times of Israel also reports that a member of Fatah admitted that his organization has not yet asserted its control over Gaza.
“The legitimate [Palestinian] Authority has not yet begun working in Gaza,” said Azzam Al-Ahmad, head of Fatah’s parliamentary bloc, during a press conference in Ramallah.
After a rocket from Gaza slammed into Israel on Wednesday, an Israeli security official offered a similar assessment: “The rocket fire proves the Palestinians have a pseudo-government, not something real. This is proof that (Palestinian President Abbas) does not control the strip. Hamas has already said – after the unity government was announced – that it would not lay down its arms and would continue its struggle against Israel. The sovereign in Gaza is still Hamas.”
By failing to disarm Hamas, Fatah is in violation of “two decades of treaties.” Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that if the Palestinians are serious about a state, they will disarm Hamas. Hamas officials have asserted that Abbas’s claims of controlling Hamas are lies to evade pressure over his decision to form a unity government with Hamas.
Hamas has been using the relative calm to build a Hezbollah-style mini-state in the West Bank. This eventuality was predicted by a number of analysts who are familiar with the Middle East. The unrepentant nature of Hamas has prompted The New York Times to acknowledge that Israeli skepticism of the unity deal is “warranted.”
Earlier this year there were concerns that Hamas was ramping up its operations in the West Bank. This increased activity was reflected by eleven kidnapping attempts that have been foiled since September of last year.
In The Big Hamas Elephant, appearing in the September 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, Elhanan Miller wrote, “The West, and especially the United States, must acknowledge that the primary obstacle to peace is not settlements or an unwillingness to negotiate, but the Hamas government itself.” The unity deal hasn’t changed that, but made it a lot harder to ignore.
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