- Hamas and its allies are openly working for and encouraging a new outbreak of anti-Israel insurgency in the West Bank, and they have been strengthened by the recent failure of the UN General Assembly to pass the US-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas and others. Palestinian groups for firing rockets at Israel and inciting violence.
- The Hamas-organized attacks not only pose a threat to Israeli civilians and soldiers; they also undermine the Western-funded Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. Every “successful” attack carried out by Hamas increases the group’s popularity in the West Bank, at the expense of Abbas and his regime.
Now that Hamas is getting what it wants in the Gaza Strip – with millions of dollars and no war with Israel – the organization is seeking to turn its attention to the West Bank, all with the help of friends in Tehran. The goal is threefold: to undermine or overthrow the Palestinian Authority, inflict heavy losses on Israel, and thwart any peace plan presented by the US government.
It is clear today that Hamas is behind some of the latest terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. These attacks serve the interests of Hamas and its friends and sponsors, in particular the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iran.
Hamas and its allies have a plan, and they do not even keep it a secret – namely to export their “armed struggle” against Israel beyond the Gaza Strip and ultimately to take control of the West Bank.
On December 9, a terrorist attack was carried out outside the Ofra settlement east of Ramallah in the West Bank. An Israeli-Canadian citizen, Amichai Ish-Ran, and his pregnant wife, Shira, were among the seven people injured in a drive-by shooting. The child, who was born prematurely as a result of the terrorist attack, died on December 12, after doctors tried to save the boy’s life for close to 72 hours.
Hamas, which later claimed responsibility for the attack, was the first Palestinian group to praise the terrorists. So far, not a single Palestinian group has spoken out against the attack, nor has Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction.
Describing the shelling as a “heroic and qualified operation”, representatives of Hamas and other Palestinian groups have said it has shown that the Palestinian “resistance is still alive in the West Bank.” They have also called on the Palestinians to “escalate the intifada (uprising) against Israel, especially against the settlers and the Israeli defense, IDF soldiers.”
“The West Bank has taken the initiative to oppose the occupation,” Hamas said in a statement issued in the Gaza Strip shortly after the terrorist attack. The attack came, Hamas added, “to reaffirm the legitimate right of our people to oppose the occupation at a time when the occupation, along with Israel, had sought to criminalize our resistance.”
This attitude of Hamas points to two important factors; firstly, that Hamas and its allies are openly working on and encouraging a new outbreak of anti-Israel insurgency in the West Bank; and secondly, that Hamas and its friends have been strengthened by the recent failure of the UN General Assembly to pass a US-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas and other Palestinian groups for firing rockets at Israel and inciting violence.
Hamas’ dream of spreading its ideology to all Palestinians is as old as its founding 31 years ago . Hamas is not interested in ruling only in the Gaza Strip. They want the West Bank, Jerusalem and the whole country “from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.” Hamas does not believe in negotiations or peaceful settlements. On the other hand, they believe that the only way to “liberate” Muslim land is through jihad. This goal, they say, is why they remain committed to the choice of “armed struggle” against Israel.
As Hamas clearly states in its charter:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wings of Islam, followers of all religions can coexist in safety and security with regard to their lives, property and rights.. “(Article 6 – Hamas Charter)
Hamas’ charter leaves no doubt about the methods it believes should be used to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict:
“There is no other solution to the Palestinian problem than through jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and futile efforts.” (Article 13 – Hamas Charter)
Hamas’ charter, which is more relevant today than ever, states unequivocally that the movement “believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic waqf, devoted to future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. That or parts of it should not be disregarded; any part of it should not be abandoned (Article 11).
With this as a starting point, it is easy to understand why Hamas continues to celebrate and pay homage to all terrorist attacks against Israel, whether these take place in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank or inside Israel itself. Hamas sees these “heroic and courageous operations” as an implementation of its ideology of waging jihad to “liberate the land of Palestine.” Although the terrorists who carried out the latest shelling attacks in the West Bank may not belong to Hamas, their attacks are fully compatible with Hamas’ stated goals and ambitions, the most prevalent of which is to see Israel removed from the map.
Hamas has good reason to celebrate, not just the attacks, but also what they perceive as a series of “results” achieved in recent weeks. These “results” include i.a. the $ 30 million in cash gift from Qatar, delivered to Hamas over the past few weeks to pay salaries and alimony to tens of thousands of their staff and supporters, as well as the UN General Assembly’s failed attempt to pass a resolution against Hamas ( Danish ). These two events have made Hamas leaders laugh all the way to the next shelling attack on Israel.
The contributions from Qatar are being given to Hamas as part of an unwritten ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. The purpose of the contributions is to promote a solution to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and to prevent an even greater military confrontation between Hamas and Israel. However, Hamas has so far done nothing to stop the violence, including the weekly demonstrations that began in late March along the border with Israel. Hamas, on the other hand, is now saying – and there is good reason to believe it – that the demonstrations will continue. Hamas also says it was not required to pay a “political price” for a suspected ceasefire.
The ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, which was allegedly achieved through mediation from Qatar, Egypt and the UN, concerns only the Gaza Strip and has nothing to do with the West Bank. Because this agreement is limited to the Gaza Strip, Hamas believes it has been given the green light to continue to trigger and carry out terrorist attacks from the West Bank without being accused of breaking the ceasefire.
The UN, Qatar and Egypt should have demanded that any ceasefire agreement should also include the West Bank, where Hamas still has several armed cells and enjoys significant support.
The Hamas-organized attacks not only pose a threat to Israeli civilians and soldiers; they also undermine the Western-funded Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. Every single “successful” attack carried out by Hamas increases the group’s popularity in the West Bank at the expense of Abbas and his regime.
It is clear that members and friends of Hamas have interpreted the failed attempt to adopt the US resolution as a green light from the UN and the international community to continue their “opposition” to Israel. They see the defeat of the US government as a “great achievement” – which allows the Palestinians to continue all forms of “resistance” against Israel, including the “armed struggle.” It is therefore no coincidence that Hamas has responded to the disaster in the UN General Assembly by promising to remain dedicated to “armed struggle” against Israel.
Every single dollar and every concession given to Hamas will only increase the group’s appetite after continuing its plans to expand its control beyond the Gaza Strip. From Hamas’ point of view, this plan has been legitimized by the UN and key players in the region, such as Qatar and Egypt. As long as Hamas feels they are marching in the right direction, we are likely to see even more armed attacks and other forms of violence in the West Bank.
Nu where Hamas gets what it wants in the Gaza Strip – with millions of dollars and no war with Israel – they seek to draw attention to the West Bank, all with the help of their friends in Tehran. The goal is threefold: to undermine or overthrow Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, inflict heavy losses on Israel, and thwart any peace plan presented by the US government. In other words, Hamas and Iran are now looking to the West Bank, and this gives cause for concern, not only to Israel, but also to Abbas.
Sources and Notes
Khaled Abu Toameh, award-winning journalist living in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute on December 13, 2018, “ The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank ” Translated into Danish by Mette Thomsen and published on December 16, 2018. Reprinted with permission from the Gatestone Institute .
Further background information on miff.dk
“Therefore, Iran Supports Palestinian Terrorist Groups” (August 21, 2018)
“Iran’s plans to take over Gaza” (October 30, 2018)
“Massive missile attack on Israel after Qatar sends money to Hamas. Hamas’ renewed attack on Israel serves as a reminder that the terrorist group is not interested in an actual ceasefire.” (November 19, 2018 – Bassam Tawil)
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