Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Iran + Hamas = Trouble
Hamas Eyes West Bank and Jordan - Pinhas Inbari
Hamas is now directly threatening Fatah that it will take over the West Bank. Senior Gaza-based Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar declared: "Just as we liberated Gaza, just as we established a real national government in it...we will make the same effort in the West Bank as we prepare to extend our presence to all of Palestine."
Palestinian security forces are now carrying out a wave of arrests of Hamas operatives in the West Bank at the same time that Jordan is making numerous arrests among cadres of the Muslim Brotherhood, as if it had information on preparations for a takeover of the country corresponding to Hamas' preparations for a takeover of the West Bank. The failure of the reconciliation talks with the PA in Ramallah stems from Hamas' insistence on being a Muslim Brotherhood movement and not a national Palestinian one.
Hamas is in a tight bind. Egypt is systematically destroying the tunnels from Sinai into Gaza and is planning to build a moat that will flood the tunnels to finally seal off Gaza from Egypt. Economically, Gaza has lost its oxygen supply from Sinai. So Hamas has decided to export its crisis from Gaza to the West Bank. Hamas seeks to replace the window to the Arab world that Sinai provided with another window - in the direction of Jordan.
PA sources in Ramallah suspect that the Hamas delegation that recently visited Tehran was seeking Iran's help for carrying out a takeover of the West Bank.
The writer, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, is an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)