Archive for the ‘Hamas’ supporters’ category

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor

October 5, 2017

In This Round of Reconciliation Talks, Hamas is the Great Victor, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, October 5, 2017

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

The Federal Program Funding Hamas Supporters on College Campuses

August 1, 2017

The Federal Program Funding Hamas Supporters on College Campuses, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, August 1, 2017

When President Trump presented his budget, he defunded Title VI from $72 million to zero. But it’s up to Congress to make it happen.

What’s Title VI?

Title VI of the Higher Education Act set out to fund international studies that would promote our national security. But on many campuses, Title VI centers undermine our national security by supporting Islamic terrorists.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act mandated that Title VI centers reflect a “wide range of views”. Instead when it comes to the Middle East, Title VI centers have only one point of view.

Title VI centers are the organizing points for Islamist and anti-Israel activities on college campuses.  The attacks on Jewish speakers and students, the BDS resolutions and terror support begin with Title VI. So do the pro-Hamas speakers who spew hatred on campuses across America.

Instead of a wide range of views, 6 Title VI Middle Eastern studies directors have backed an academic boycott of Israel. Not only do they not promote a range of views, but they suppress pro-Israel views.

Title VI faculty play a crucial role in supporting campus hate groups from SJP to JVP to MSA. And Title VI material then finds its way from colleges into school classrooms.

All of this hatred is funded by taxpayers. But it doesn’t have to be.

Rep. Grothman, joined by Rep. Allen, Rep. Garrett and Rep. Lamborn are trying to defund Title VI and move funding over to the National Security Education Program (NSEP).  But they face an uphill battle.

Defunding Title VI would do a great deal to neutralize the ugliness and hatred on campuses.

Take the Center for Near East Studies at UCLA. The Center is busy touting a faculty member’s attack on Trump. The faculty includes Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, a leading authority on Sharia Islamic law, whom Daniel Pipes named a “stealth Islamist.” El Fadl provided an “Affidavit of Support” for top Hamas terrorist Abu Marzook. He donated to and defended the Holy Land Foundation: a Hamas front group.

In more recent articles, Abou El Fadl has defended Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. He distinguished between “countries and movements adhering to ideologies of resistance” including “Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas” in contrast to the “moderate” appeasers of America and Israel.

“Why is Saudi Arabia so hostile to political Islam movements such as Hamas, Hizbullah, or the Muslim Brotherhood?” El Fadl asks. And the answer is that the Saudis have become “westernized and secular”.

El Fadl has been touted as a moderate because he criticizes the Wahhabis. But his criticism is not moderate, but Jihadist. He complains that Wahhabis care more about whether a Muslim woman wears a veil than “about the invasions of Iraq, Gaza, or the fate of Jerusalem.”

Should Title VI be in the business of funding centers that echo Osama bin Laden?

“Israel wants to destroy Hamas because Israel wants to continue controlling the fate of Palestinians, neutralizing their nationalism and ideological foundations, and breaking their will to resist,” El Fadl rants.

Should Title VI be in the business of funding Hamas propaganda?

But you don’t have to be an Islamist at the Center for Near East Studies to hate Israel and defend the terrorists.

Take Gabriel Piterberg, the Center’s former director. Piterberg has been at the center of a firestorm, not over his support for terrorists, but over allegations that UCLA officials had attempted to cover up accusations that he had tried to shove his tongue into the mouths of two female grad students.

Piterberg was forced to resign as director of the Center for Near East Studies, but is still on staff.

Gabriel Piterberg backs an academic boycott of Israel and associates with Students for Justice in Palestine. He appeared at a American Muslims for Palestine event. AMP has links to Hamas. He has described Islamic terrorist attacks on Israel as “a frightening piece of consciousness raising.”

Sexual harassment and contempt for the victims of terrorism are all part of the Title VI package.

Piterberg appeared at a Center for Near Eastern Studies event on a panel with Richard Falk. The Gaza and Human Rights symposium came complete with chants of “Zionism is Nazism” and F___ Israel”. Falk is a 9/11 Truther and a fan of the Ayatollah Khomeini who has supported domestic terrorism. His ugly behavior was so extreme that he was condemned by the UN Secretary General.

Falk had described the Boston Marathon bombings as “blowback” to “American global domination.” He was on good terms with an anti-Israel activist had written a book in which he wondered whether “Hitler might have been right.”

A UCLA conference organized by Piterberg included Falk and the latter had been present at a number of CNES events. That is a truly notable accomplishment for a man who had been condemned by the United States government even while it kept on funding Title VI. But that is what Title VI gets you.

UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies is notorious, but it’s not unique.

“For most of human history, human beings have not thought of consent as the essential feature of morally correct sexual activity,” explained Jonathan Brown, the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

The Islamic Studies professor was justifying Islamic sex slavery.

“Slave women do not have agency over their sexual access, so their owner can have sex with them,” he had claimed in the past. And, he asserted, “It’s not immoral for one human to own another human.”

The School of Foreign Service has been a recipient of Title VI funding.

John Esposito, a professor at the School of Foreign Service, testified on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation’s money men for Hamas. Esposito has defended some terrorist attacks by Hamas. He complained that, “despite HAMAS’ victory in free and democratic elections, the United States and Europe failed to give the party full recognition and support.”

Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies is Title VI supported. Elliot Colla, who is affiliated with the Center, signed on to a letter claiming that Hamas’ “missile assault was in direct response to Israel’s terrifying the entire population of the West Bank”. Fida Adely, of the Center, pushes BDS and has denounced Israel for raids on Hamas. At a Center event, George Mason University professor Noura Erakat complained that Israel was indiscriminately targeting Hamas people.

These are a few examples out of many. The Freedom Center, the Amcha Initiative, the Canary Mission, Stand With Us, and a great number of other groups have been battling campus anti-Semitism.

This is an opportunity to make a difference.

Defenders of Title VI claim that it will help us fight terrorism. But how can Title VI help us fight terrorism when it promotes terrorism?

While we fight terrorists abroad, Title VI spreads terror at home.

Title VI has become an outlet for anti-Semitism and for anti-American propaganda on campus. If we can change that, then we will send a message that the college campus is no place for terrorists and bigots.

Islamic Relief Fails a Whitewash

July 3, 2017

Islamic Relief Fails a Whitewash, Gatestone InstituteSamuel Westrop, July 3, 2017

(Please see also, What Hamas Wants. — DM)

Even if the Canadian branch of Islamic Relief claims not to have directly funded these Hamas groups, its own accounts reveal grants of millions of dollars to its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, which oversees the movement of money to a number of Hamas fronts.

Islamic Relief branches also receive money from several terror-linked Middle Eastern charities, including those established by Sheikh al Zindani, whom the US government has designated a “Global Terrorist.”

Islamic Relief did not much care for the exposé. Reyhana Patel, a senior figure at its Canadian branch, first persuaded the Post to bowdlerize the article by removing some of the sourced material and adding sentences in defense of Islamic Relief.

On May 20, a Muslim cleric, Nouman Ali Khan spoke at a fundraising event in Toronto for Islamic Relief, one of the largest Muslim charities in the world.

Khan preaches that prostitutes and pornographic actors are “filth” and that “you have to punish them … They’re not killed; they’re whipped. And they’re whipped a hundred times.” Khan has also declared that God gives men “license” to beat unfaithful wives, and that Muslim women are committing a “crime” if they object to the religious text that he says permits this abuse.

Muslim cleric Nouman Ali Khan says that God gives men “license” to beat unfaithful wives, and that Muslim women are committing a “crime” if they object to the religious text that he says permits this abuse. (Image source: Rossi101/Wikimedia Commons)

Before the event took place, this author had written about Khan and Islamic Relief in the National Post, with the help of colleagues at the Middle East Forum.

Islamic Relief did not much care for the exposé. Reyhana Patel, a senior figure at its Canadian branch, first persuaded the Post to bowdlerize the article by removing some of the sourced material and adding sentences in defense of Islamic Relief.

Patel then published in the Post a response that denounced our research as “false… one-sided and unsubstantiated.”

Really? In a rather major failing, she failed even to address Nouman Ali Khan’s presence at the Islamic Relief event.

Instead, she boasted of her own humanitarian goodness and attacked the Middle East Forum (MEF) as an “anti-Muslim think tank” that “uses some of its resources to paint a negative picture of Islam and Muslims.” MEF has always, in fact, argued the very opposite. It believes that if radical Islam is the problem, then moderate Islam is the solution. This very maxim can be found in dozens of articles on its website. MEF supports a number of moderate Muslim groups working to challenge extremism, and encourages others to do the same.

It is old habit of Islamists to accuse anti-Islamist activists of being anti-Muslim, because it allows them misleadingly to conflate Islam and Islamism. That obfuscation severely inhibits the work of moderate Muslims trying to free their faith from the grip of these extremists.

Patel’s only reference to the charges of Middle East Forum, in fact, appears to be a deliberate misquote. She writes that MEF “labelled Islamic Relief Canada a ‘terrorist organization which regularly gives platforms to preachers who incite hatred against women, Jews, homosexuals and Muslim minorities.'” Islamic Relief does indeed regularly give platforms to such preachers — Nouman Ali Khan is just one example in the weekly pattern of this charity and its branches across the world.

But MEF did not claim that Islamic Relief was a “terrorist organization.” I wrote that it was “financially linked with a number of terrorist groups.” Islamic Relief branches have, for example, indeed given money to several groups in Gaza linked to the designated terrorist group Hamas. These include the Al Falah Benevolent Society, which the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre describes as one of “Hamas’s charitable societies.” And even if the Canadian branch of Islamic Relief claims not to have directly funded these Hamas groups, its own accounts reveal grants of millions of dollars to its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, which oversees the movement of money to a number of Hamas fronts.

Islamic Relief branches also receives money from several terror-linked Middle Eastern charities, including those established by Sheikh al Zindani, whom the US government has designated a “Global Terrorist.”

Although MEF believes that Islamic Relief is financially linked to terror, no one wrote that the charity itself is a terrorist organization. Others, however, are less circumspect. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates designated Islamic Relief as a terrorist organization. And in 2016, the banking giant HSBC shut down Islamic Relief’s bank accounts in the United Kingdom “amid concerns that cash for aid could end up with terrorist groups abroad.”

Perhaps Reyhana Patel hoped that by smearing the Middle East Forum, and telling her readers about her love of “diversity … tolerance and inclusion,” she could sell Islamic Relief as a force for good. The charity’s regular promotion of hate preachers and financial links to terrorist groups, however, says otherwise.

And is Patel herself really so dedicated to supporting peace and tolerance? Her social media posts and a short-lived career as a journalist suggest not. Patel has a history, it seems, of attacking organizations that oppose religious extremism. In 2014, Patel wrote an article condemning Student Rights, a British organization that works to expose homophobia, racism and other forms of extremism on campus. Without seriously addressing the group’s research, Patel described the organization as “sensationalist and misleading.” Sound familiar?

Patel has also defended gender-segregation imposed by Muslim student groups at Britain’s public universities, and then complained that Muslim women who oppose this misogynistic behavior “seem to want to discredit and deamonise [sic] me.”

Further, Patel has expressed praise for Malia Bouattia, a prominent student activist in Britain whose anti-Semitism was the subject of national media coverage. In 2011, Bouattia condemned a university with a large Jewish population as a “Zionist outpost.” In 2014, she opposed a motion at a student conference that condemned ISIS on the grounds that such condemnation was “Islamophobic.” That same year, a British parliamentary report concluded that Bouattia was guilty of “outright racism.”

If this is the company Reyhana Patel keeps, then perhaps Nouman Ali Khan’s extremism is a perfect fit for Islamic Relief Canada.

Islamic Relief was designated a terrorist organization by a pious Muslim country. Western banks have closed its accounts over terrorism concerns, and, just last month, Britain’s Charity Commission starting investigating the charity for hosting a preacher who justifies killing homosexuals.

The Islamic Relief franchise is a charitable front for extremism in the West. That it has managed to build a favorable reputation is testament to the careful doublespeak of its officials. Such duplicity should not be tolerated.

Samuel Westrop is the Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Palestinians: Mohammad Dahlan, the New Mayor of the Gaza Strip?

July 3, 2017

Palestinians: Mohammad Dahlan, the New Mayor of the Gaza Strip? Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, July 3, 2017

(Please see also, What Hamas Wants. — DM)

This new reality could buy quiet in the short term. In the long term, however, Hamas is likely to emerge as stronger and more prepared for the next war with Israel.

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Dahlan will be functioning under the watchful eye of Hamas, which will remain the real de facto and unchallenged ruler of the Gaza Strip. Hamas is willing to allow Dahlan to return to the Palestinian political scene through the Gaza Strip window. But he will be on a very short leash.

Dahlan’s presence in the Gaza Strip will not deter Hamas from continuing with its preparations for another war with Israel.

Dahlan will find himself playing the role of fundraiser for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while Hamas hides behind his formidable political shoulders.

Mohammed Dahlan is an aspiring Palestinian with huge political ambitions. Specifically, he hopes to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Knowing this, Abbas expelled him from the ruling Fatah faction in 2011. Since then, Dahlan has been living in the United Arab Emirates.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip for the past decade, used to consider Dahlan one of its fiercest enemies.

As commander of the notorious Preventive Security Service (PSS) in the Gaza Strip in the 1990s, Dahlan was personally responsible for the PA’s security crackdown on Hamas. On his instructions, hundreds of Hamas activists were routinely targeted and detained.

The enmity was mutual; Dahlan too considered Hamas a major threat to him and the PA regime in the Gaza Strip.

Dahlan’s contempt for Hamas knew no limits. On his orders, Hamas founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin was placed under house arrest.

Two other senior Hamas officials, Mahmoud Zahar and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, were repeatedly detained and tortured by Dahlan’s agents. At one point, Dahlan ordered his interrogators to shave the two men’s beards as a way of humiliating them.

During and after its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas targeted Dahlan’s PSS and loyalists. Some were killed or incarcerated, while many others were forced to flee the Gaza Strip to Egypt and the West Bank. For many years, Dahlan was at the top of Hamas’s most wanted fugitives. No longer.

Erstwhile enemies, Dahlan and Hamas today have a common foe: Mahmoud Abbas. They seem about to join forces to repay him for the humiliation they have suffered at his hands.

Dahlan has long sought revenge for Abbas’s decision to expel him from Fatah and prosecute him on charges of murder and embezzlement. Dahlan will never forgive Abbas for dispatching security officers to raid his Ramallah residence and confiscate documents and other equipment. On that day, Dahlan slunk out of Ramallah.

Dahlan found refuge in the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy Gulf country whose rulers seem very fond of him. He receives millions of dollars from his Gulf hosts. Until today, Abbas regards Dahlan, who was once an intimate associate, as his main enemy.

Exile has been good for Dahlan. Thanks to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Dahlan has amassed enough power and money to become a major player in the Palestinian arena.

In the past few years, he has succeeded in building bases of power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, largely with the cash that he has been providing to his loyalists and others.

More importantly, Dahlan has succeeded in building a personal relationship with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who also seems rather partial to him. While this relationship has alienated Abbas, Hamas sees it as an opportunity to rid itself of its increased isolation in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s predicament has been exacerbated by the continued Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip, specifically the closure of the Rafah border crossing, and a series of punitive measures taken by Abbas in recent weeks.

These measures, which are being described by Hamas as a “declaration of war” on the Gaza Strip, include refusing to pay for electricity that Israel supplies to the Gaza Strip, halting the shipment of medicine from the West Bank, denying permits to patients to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment, and cutting off salaries to thousands of PA and Hamas civil servants and former security prisoners (who had served time in Israeli prisons).

Dahlan is desperate to make a comeback to the Palestinian political scene. He is fed up with exile, far from his friends in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He is also aware that the 82-year-old Abbas may be nearing his end, especially in light of rumors concerning his failing health.

Mohammed Dahlan addresses a political rally on January 7, 2007 in Gaza City. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Dahlan also sees Hamas’s desperation now that its main patron, Qatar, is facing massive pressure from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to cease funding the Islamist movement and its mother group, Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas wants to hold on to power in the Gaza Strip at any cost, even if that means swallowing the poison pill of aligning itself with someone like Dahlan.

Hamas has no intention of changing its ideology or engaging in any peace process with Israel. It will not recognize Israel’s right to exist or abandon the “armed struggle” to liberate all of Palestine, “from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.” The name of the game, as far as Hamas is considered, is survival.

Hamas fears that the continued Egyptian blockade and Abbas’s draconian measures may undermine its rule over the Gaza Strip.

Even worse, Hamas fears that the pressure and sanctions could trigger a Palestinian “intifada” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas knows full well that the electricity crisis and lack of medicine is destined to explode in its face.

Hamas believes it has now found a way out of the crisis.

Ironically, yesterday’s number one enemy, Dahlan, could prove to be the savior — the very Dahlan who imprisoned and tortured and killed many Hamas members and leaders. The same Dahlan who, as a security commander in the Gaza Strip, was responsible for security coordination with the “Zionist enemy.” The Dahlan who is one of the main byproducts and symbols of the Oslo Accords, which Hamas continues to reject to this day.

Last month, Hamas leaders traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials and representatives of Dahlan, on ways of ending the “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. It was the first meeting of its kind between Dahlan’s men and Hamas leaders.

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, disclosed that the two sides reached “understandings” over a number of issues, including the reopening of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, and allowing entry of medicine and fuel for the power plants in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas also reached an agreement with the Egyptians to build a security buffer zone along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, to stop the smuggling of weapons and the infiltration of terrorists. This week, Hamas bulldozers were already seen breaking ground along the border.

The unexpected rapprochement between Dahlan and Hamas has already resulted in the return of some of Dahlan’s loyalists to the Gaza Strip. Now, everyone is waiting to see if and when Dahlan himself will be permitted to return to his home in the Gaza Strip.

Sources in the Gaza Strip believe that the countdown for Dahlan’s return has begun. The sources also believe that he may be entrusted with serving as “prime minister” of a new government, while Hamas remains in charge of overall security in the Gaza Strip.

In fact, Hamas already has its own “administrative committee” that functions as a government.

Dahlan’s role will be to help break the blockade on the Gaza Strip, attract Arab and Western funds, and improve living conditions and the economy.

Dahlan, in short, may be on his way to become Mayor of the Gaza Strip.

Already this week, there were signs that Dahlan may have already succeeded in convincing Hamas that he is indeed the long-awaited savior: Egyptians began dispatching trucks loaded with fuel to the Gaza Strip to help solve the electricity crisis. Moreover, the Egyptian authorities have expressed readiness to reopen the Rafah terminal.

The “understandings” reached between Dahlan and Hamas may help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and pave the way for improving the economy. However, the biggest winner will be Hamas, which is not being required to make any meaningful concessions other than allowing Dahlan and his loyalists back into the Gaza Strip.

Dahlan will be functioning under the watchful eye of Hamas, which will remain the real de facto and unchallenged ruler of the Gaza Strip. Hamas is willing to allow Dahlan to return to the Palestinian political scene through the Gaza Strip window. But he will be on a very short leash.

Dahlan’s presence in the Gaza Strip will not deter Hamas from continuing with its preparations for another war with Israel.

Hamas is not going to stop digging tunnels along the border with Israel for fear of Dahlan. He will likely enjoy extensive civilian powers, but security matters will remain in the hands of Hamas and its military wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam.

Dahlan will find himself playing the role of fundraiser for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while Hamas hides behind his formidable political shoulders.

This new reality could buy quiet in the short term. In the long term, however, Hamas is likely to emerge as stronger and more prepared for the next war with Israel.

For Dahlan and Hamas, it’s win-win. No wonder, then, that Abbas and his friends in the West Bank are angry and anxious.

The unholy alliance between Dahlan and Hamas, in their view, is nothing less than an attempt to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.

The international audience might wish to take note: it is now official — the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip marks the end of the so-called two-state solution. On the Palestinian street, it appears that the Palestinians are closer than ever to achieving two separate entities of their own — one that is run by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and another controlled by Hamas and Dahlan.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist and television presence, is based in Jerusalem.

Articles In Gulf Press: The Escalation In Gaza – A Result Of Qatar, Iran, Turkey Toying With Lives Of Innocent Palestinians

June 28, 2017

Articles In Gulf Press: The Escalation In Gaza – A Result Of Qatar, Iran, Turkey Toying With Lives Of Innocent Palestinians, MEMRI, June 28, 2017

Following the June 27, 2017 Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in response to the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel, articles in the Gulf press attacked Hamas and the countries that support it: Qatar, Iran and Turkey. The articles – published against the backdrop of the inter-Gulf tension and the Boycott imposed on Qatar, chiefly by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – blamed Hamas of the firing of the rocket into Israel, and claimed that it was escalating the situation in Gaza on purpose in order to serve the interests of its three patron countries. These countries, said the articles, place innocent Palestinians in danger in order to divert global attention away from the Gulf crisis. 

The following are excerpts from two articles on this topic:   

‘Al-Ittihad’ Editorial: Qatar, Iran, Turkey Use Gaza As Bargaining Chip, Toying With The Lives Of Its Innocent People

Muhammad Al-Hamadi, editor of the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, wrote: “On June 27, without any warning, the Arabs woke up to discover that Gaza had been bombarded. Why? What has happened that we don’t know about? What did the Gazan Palestinians do to find themselves under Israeli fire? Has a third intifada broken out? Has the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem begun?

“In practice, none [of the above] happened. All [that happened was] that those who trade in the Palestinian problem, who are themselves in trouble, remembered an old bargaining chip that they have long been using successfully, [and decided] to use it in the dire circumstances that have befallen their friend Qatar, which serves as their open bank [account]. They thought that [using this bargaining chip] would be a good way to divert the Arabs’ attention away from Qatar and focus it [instead] on Gaza and its residents who are being bombarded with missiles by the Israeli enemy.

“This conduct of Qatar and its allies, in Palestine and elsewhere, is despicable. How disgraceful it is that some are willing to toy with the lives of innocents and with the future of small children in Gaza in order to achieve political aims. For a long time now, some [elements] – chiefly Iran, Qatar and Turkey – have been toying with the Palestinian cause and they were successful, but the cost was high: hundreds and even thousands of innocent Palestinians who have been martyred or wounded and crippled. What was the [Palestinian’s] reward? The reward was a donation drive among Arab and Muslim countries that raised millions. [But only] a handful of riyals and dinars was handed out to the disaster-stricken Palestinians. It is always the case that the [Gazan] people get crumbs, while the rest goes to the loyal partner, Hamas.

“We have said from the beginning of the boycott of Qatar that the game is over, but Qatar apparently isn’t listening. Continuing this transparently [wicked] behavior will no longer avail [it], because the peoples are no longer fooled. If in the past they trusted the propaganda of the ideologically recruited Al-Jazeera channel, which serves certain goals, today the peoples no longer watch Al-Jazeera and are no longer influenced by it and by other Arab or foreign channels. Information has become very accessible, and [cyber]space has opened up in [this] era of new media. Nobody has a monopoly on the facts, and it is no longer possible to deceive the peoples. That is what the Palestinian people discovered on July 27. It discovered that there are those who want to exploit it and drag it into a new confrontation with the Israeli enemy, while those who plan [the confrontation] stay in five-star hotels in Doha and Istanbul and in other capitals that shelter the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and of terror.

“Our friends in Gaza informed us that the [Gaza] Strip was not bombarded and that only two Israeli missiles were fired in response to the rocket fired from Gaza into Israel. Everyone knows that Qatar is the one that is ‘bombarded’ and boycotted. Who gains from the firing of the rocket and from the situation in which Gaza is bombarded?”[i]

Saudi Columnist: Qatar, Iran Sponsor Hamas, Which Uses Gazans As Human Shields

Hani Al-Zahiri wrote in the Saudi ‘Okaz daily: “It has been centuries since our region has seen a political gamble as terrible as the Iranian and Qatari regimes’ [current] gamble with the lives and the cause of the Palestinians. These two [regimes] adopted the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas organization, and supported it by every means when it staged an uprising against the legal Palestinian leadership [the PA] and took over Gaza, and then turned the innocent residents [of Gaza] into a human shield for the Hamas leadership.

“The state of the Gaza Strip in the face of the Israeli bombardments, which usually come in direct response to Hamas actions, reminds us of  [a situation in which] a man kidnaps a girl and then provokes [the soldiers in] a military base to open fire on him and uses the girl as a human shield. The kidnapper in this case is Hamas and the girl is Gaza and its helpless people. The portly Hamas leaders meet in Doha and Tehran, laugh around tables laden with delicacies and order their young [fighters] to open the gates of Hell to the Palestinians by [shooting] firecrackers – which they call ‘rockets’ – at Israeli [army] posts, so that Gaza will be bombarded and women, children and the elderly will die. Then Hamas [officials] will come out, condemn this on satellite channels, and demand support and funds to rescue the Palestinian people, before going back to their feast, safe and sound. In the meantime the entire world will watch the suffering of an unarmed people that has no means to defend itself.

“Everything that has happened to the Palestinians since Hamas took over them indicates that their second enemy, after Israel, is Qatar and Iran, which are using a tinderbox named Hamas to burn them in order to achieve purely political aims… The question now is why, on the day before yesterday [June 26], Qatar and its allies prompted Hamas to fire on Israeli positions, thus inviting Israel to respond by bombarding Gaza. The answer is clearly that this was a despicable attempt and a new political gamble by the Qatari regime, aimed at easing the noose of the Gulf boycott [of Qatar, a boycott] which prompted calls to sue [this regime] in the international [court] for the black [crime] of supporting terror. Today [Qatar] desperately needs to divert the world’s attention in another direction, even at the expense of the life and blood of a defenseless people… The Qataris and Iranians will exploit the event to utter phrases of pretended sympathy for the Palestinians, but only the people in Gaza know that they are the victims of this pair of plotters [Qatar and Iran].”[ii]

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[i] Al-Ittihad (UAE), June 28, 2017.

[ii] ‘Okaz (Saudi Arabia), June 28, 2017.

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel

April 27, 2017

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, April 27, 2017

In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the ‘grand’ destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.

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Strategically, Hamas remains as committed as ever to its objective of destroying Israel and toppling the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the process. Tactically, however, Hamas exhibits pragmatism and won’t rush into wars with Israel when conditions are ill suited.

Hamas looks at the long run, and remains convinced that it can eradicate Israel, even if it takes decades or centuries. Yet it would prefer to bide its time, and build up its force until the next clash while working to decrease its acute regional isolation. For this to happen, Hamas needs to avoid plunging Gaza into a new war any time soon. Yet it remains far from clear that it will be able to do this.

Should a war erupt in the near future, it likely will be triggered by unplanned dynamics of escalation.

Gaza’s woeful living standards and infrastructure are among those factors. Crises such as the ongoing electricity supply problem plaguing the Strip could facilitate an early conflict, as Hamas may try to distract the population’s frustrations from its failings, and divert them to Israel.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to make matters worse by cutting off cash for Gaza’s power plant. It’s part of the ongoing feud between the Fatah-run PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza. Gazans now receive electricity only four to six hours a day due to this feud. In January, Gazans took the unprecedented step of protesting power cuts, making Hamas extremely nervous.

In addition to tensions over the electricity crisis, a Hamas-run terror cell could spark conflict if it carries out a mass casualty attack that spawns Israeli retaliation.

The sheer scope of such plots that Israel thwarts every year is enormous.

Last year, 184 shooting attacks, 16 suicide bombings, and 16 kidnapping plots were foiled, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman testified last month before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Hamas had “significantly increased” efforts to pull off attacks in the West Bank and in Israel, he said, adding that Israeli security forces arrested more than 1,000 Hamas members in the West Bank last year and broke up 114 cells.

These are risks Hamas is prepared to take, since the day that it ceases all attempts to carry out jihadist terrorism against Israel is the day that it stops being Hamas.

Yet Hamas is also a government now, and it must consider the Gazans it rules. Hamas is keenly aware of Palestinian sentiment. Its leaders grew up in Gaza’s refugee camps and always have their finger on the pulse of Gazan society.

Hamas leaders seem to understand that the public opposes a new damaging war with Israel. They recognize that the Palestinian public cannot stomach a war with Israel every two years. The reconstruction program in Gaza following the 2014 conflict is far from complete. There are still Gazans whose homes haven’t been repaired from the damage inflicted in 2014.

The general population, despite being exposed to Hamas’s daily propaganda diet of jihadist rhetoric, would likely be reluctant to be again be used as human shields by the military wing, barely three years since the end of the last clash.

The price of Hamas’s policy of embedding its rocket launchers and fighters in Gaza’s civilian areas also is not alluring to many Gazans.

On the flip side, one of Hamas’s worst fears is of being perceived as weak. After one of its senior operatives was mysteriously killed recently, it executed three people it accused of collaborating with Israel.

Hamas also responded to Mazen Fuqaha’s murder by sending threatening messages to Israel promising vengeance. Hamas videos suggest it will target senior Israeli security officials for assassination.

Fuqaha was a key figure in the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, and reportedly in charge of setting up multiple terrorist cells in the West Bank. His bullet-ridden body was found last month outside of his Gazan apartment building.

The Israeli defense establishment takes these Hamas threats seriously. Despite the noise, however, Hamas has not rushed to respond just yet – underlining the fact that Hamas is aware of the restraints factors that it is under.

Since the end of the 2014 war with Israel, the Islamist regime has shied away from escalating the security situation with Israel.

Hamas’s leadership sees unfavorable regional conditions. They lack any powerful regional backer following the 2013 downfall of Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president in neighboring Egypt, in whom Hamas staked so many of its hopes.

In the past, Hamas enjoyed many partnerships, enjoying arms support and funding from the Shi’ite axis (Iran and Hizballah) – and forming relationships with Sunni powers.

But the Middle Eastern regional upheaval, which pits Sunnis against Shiites, and Islamists against non-Islamists, forced Hamas to make choices. It could no longer be on the same side of both Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, who are locked in a transnational proxy war. In the same vein, Hamas cannot be on the same side as both the Assad regime and the Sunni rebels fighting to remove him.

Worst of all from Hamas’s perspective, Morsi’s departure means it cannot rely on its primordial impulse to attach itself to a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-led backer.

Five years ago, there were initial signs of a regional wave of Muslim Brotherhood successes. The Brothers rose to power in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and had Qatari backing. Morsi’s 2013 fall changed Hamas’s fortunes for the worse. The rise of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, a leader who identifies Hamas as a Gazan branch of his domestic arch-enemy, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, guaranteed Hamas’s isolation.

Relations with Cairo remain rocky despite recent Hamas attempts to improve ties. Egypt may open its Rafah border crossing a few days a week, but this does not change its core view of Hamas as a true enemy, to be held at bay, weakened, and deterred.

Hamas has also fallen out with Saudi Arabia. And Hamas and Iran do not get along very well either, despite Iran continuing to be the chief sponsor of the military wing, paying it $50-$60 million a year, according to various estimates.

This leaves Hamas with just two stalwart friends: Qatar and Turkey, neither of which can back them substantially. Turkey is not an Arab state, meaning that its role in the Arab world is limited, and its desire to lead the Arab world will always be met with suspicion. A failure by Turkey to infiltrate the region means that it can only do so much to assist Gaza. Qatar, though wealthy, is politically weak, and geographically distant.

New Hamas leader Yihyeh Sinwar, despite his fundamentalist inclinations, must consider these constraints and see that his Islamist-run enclave has little real backing.

To compound its problems, Hamas also has serious financial issues. It has three main sources of income: Donations from states, donations from private individuals, and Hamas’s network of investments.

Hamas gets far less money than it used to from its donors, according to Israeli assessments. Only Qatar and Turkey donate on a regular basis, while Iran continues to finance the military wing, but not the entire movement.

Hamas is a large organization, with operations in the West Bank, Qatar, and Turkey in addition to Gaza. In the Strip, it needs to pay salaries, and prepare for its next clash with Israel. Hamas also seeks to export terrorism to the West Bank and build up political support among West Bank Palestinians. All of this costs money. It is has offices and headquarters in multiple states overseas that require annual budgets.

Private Gulf State donors are drying up. Wealthy Saudis are more interested in supporting Syrian rebels. Hamas’s cause has moved to the back of the line.

Its investments, meant to be saved for a rainy day, now must be tapped.

So what can Hamas do? First and foremost, it continues its domestic military build-up, mass producing rockets, mortar shells, variants of shoulder-fired missiles, drones, and digging tunnels – all at the expense of the welfare of the 2 million Palestinians it rules.

That’s because Hamas drew many operational lessons from its last conflict with Israel, and is keen on rebuilding its terrorist-guerrilla army without interruptions.

One lesson was to focus on a perceived Israeli vulnerability through short-range strikes. To that end, it is building new rockets that carry 200 kilogram warheads – significantly larger than past rockets made in Gaza.

These projectiles are not accurate, but would cause enormous damage if they slammed into a southern Israeli town or village.

Hamas weapons factories produce simple RPGs as well.

Second, Hamas is trying to becoming more ‘acceptable’ to the region and to the world. It is about to unveil a new charter which will be an attempt to obfuscate its jihadist ideological leanings and ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and present itself as being merely a national “resistance” organization.

In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the ‘grand’ destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.