Risk Intel Report

Dahlan: Hamas is trying to carry out a military coup against the PA

For years, Hamas had been the weaker militant group compared to Arafat?s Fatah Party . Over the years its social, medical, and educational networks have kept many Palestinian families alive and have provided the assistance that the Palestinian National Authority?s (PNA) corrupt government should have been providing. The goal of Hamas has long been to bide its time until there was an opportunity for it to emerge out of the shadows of Fatah and take control of the Territories. With the death of Yasser Arafat (Intel Report) and a divided and weak PNA, Hamas emerged in 2004 and contested the local elections, surprising everyone in how many seats they won. Hamas seeks to gain more control in Gaza and to position itself as the leader of the Palestinian people. Last week, when Hamas operatives fired mortars and missiles into Israel and the settlements, the leadership of the PNA had had enough. Police and armed Fatah members were ordered to send a message to Hamas in their Jabaliya stronghold (see photo, courtesy of Interet-General.info). Officers and Fatah members torched Hamas vehicles and an office. When an armored security vehicle was dispatched to stop the missile attacks, Hamas destroyed the vehicle and sent its operatives to burn a police station and four police vehicles in Gaza City. Other police forces were dispatched to seize Hamas operatives, and a huge gunfight erupted, injuring 25 people. Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef , the head of security and police forces in the PNA, was forced to declare a state of emergency. Mohamed Dahlan, the current Civil Affairs Minister and former Preventive Security Chief in Gaza, highlighted the real problem when he stated that ?this is an attempted military coup.? Sooner or later, through the ballot box or by the gun, these two sides will clash to determine who controls the direction of the Palestinian people. Hamas has been preparing for this moment for the last five years. As the Palestinian National Authority attempts to work on the evacuation of the settlements in Gaza and other issues, Hamas has been a thorn in their side. Recently, President Mahmoud Abbas had to postpone the Legislative Council elections that were scheduled to take place this month because Hamas might have surprised everyone again and won more seats than expected. In all likelihood, these skirmishes will come to a head, and only one side will be left standing. President Mahmoud Abbas? initial approach of negotiating with militant groups does not seem to be working, and Hamas senses that Fatah is weak and divided, so there is an opportunity for Hamas to step into the void of power. But, the true danger for the Palestinian people is if Hamas were to accomplish its goals and if ther were a true disengagement by Israel and the United States, which would not deal with Hamas as it has with Abbas and even Arafat.

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