• Mon. Jan 30th, 2023
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    The situation in the Gaza Strip is unlikely to change. Even if Hamas were removed from power, the Palestinians would continue to struggle with other radical groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

  • Even if Hamas were to wake up early tomorrow and make a U-turn that led to the conclusion of a genuine ceasefire agreement with Israel, there will always be other terrorist groups ready to break such an agreement whenever they wish. it.
  • These are some crucial factors that should be taken into account by any international party seeking a solution to the catastrophe called Gaza. Unless one then wants to be held in an alternative reality where everything would be fine, only Israel eased the restrictions on the Gaza Strip.


Should anyone walk around hoping that the removal of Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip would improve the situation there and promote the chances of peace between the Palestinians and Israel, they will be badly disappointed. Hamas, which forcibly took control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, is not the only terrorist group in this coastal clave that houses more than two million Palestinians.

In addition to Hamas, several other Palestinian terrorist groups are appearing in the Gaza Strip.

The second largest group, after Hamas, is Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which has thousands of supporters and militias. If and when Hamas is ever removed from power, the PIJ has the greatest chance of stepping in and filling the void.

If you remove Hamas from power, you will most likely end up having to deal with the PIJ – which is not a moderate group. Although Hamas can only be perceived as “good” in an alternative reality, the compensation for it will not be better. Islamic fundamentalism is engraved in the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The two Islamist groups – Hamas and the PIJ – are like two cubits out of one piece. Neither of them recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and they both constantly call for armed struggle to “liberate all of Palestine,” from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

Like Hamas, the Iranian-funded PIJ has an armed wing called the Saraya Al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades). These Jerusalem brigades, founded in 1981 by PIJ leaders Fathi Shaqaqi and Abed Al-Aziz Awda in the Gaza Strip, are responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings. In recent years, the group has also fired rockets and mortars against Israel.

Although the PIJ sees itself as an independent group, it often operates in coordination with Hamas. The two groups even have a joint “operational command” to coordinate their attacks on Israel. Sometimes they perform joint attacks.

Although the PIJ sees itself as an independent group, it often operates in coordination with Hamas. The two groups even have a joint “operational command” to coordinate their attacks on Israel. Sometimes they carry out joint attacks.

The Jerusalem brigades like to take to the streets and demonstrate their strength to other Palestinian terrorist groups in particular and the Palestinian public in the Gaza Strip in general. Normally, Hamas does not tolerate rivalry from other armed groups in the Gaza Strip, but when it comes to the PIJ and its military wing, the story is quite different. When the PIJ exhibits its power and weapons in the streets of Gaza, Hamas says nothing about it.

Hamas clearly knows that the PIJ, which is a large and influential group, is dangerous to come across. Hamas also seems to be aware that if they interfere in the PIJ, they will have problems with the PIJ’s payers in Iran. Like the PIJ, Hamas is dependent on Iran’s political, economic and military backing. Iran perceives the PIJ as its main ally and puppet in the Gaza Strip. Via the PIJ, Iran extends its tentacles far into the internal affairs of the Palestinians, much to the dismay of President Mahmoud Abbas and his Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Relations between Iran and Hamas have not been stable in recent years, mainly because Hamas has refused to support the Iranian – backed regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Recently, however, there have been reports in some Arab media that Iran and Hamas have agreed to put the differences aside.

In recent years, a number of Hamas delegations have visited Tehran as part of the group’s efforts to patch up relations with Iran.. The most recent visit took place in October 2017, when a Hamas delegation consisting of Ezzat Al-Risheq, Sami Abu Zuhri, Khaled Qaddoumi, Mohammed Nasr and Zaher Jabarin visited Tehran to brief Iranian leaders on the latest developments in their efforts to end the crisis between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah faction.

Despite the apparent rapprochement, Iran is very reluctant to rely on Hamas. Iran’s skepticism seems to stem from a fear that Hamas is ready to conclude a reconciliation agreement with Fatah and a ceasefire agreement with Israel. Such an alliance would, in the eyes of Iran, be tantamount to treason on the part of Hamas. Any agreement with Fatah would mean that Hamas is ready to join forces with Abbas and, even worse, to enter into future peace talks with Israel. Any ceasefire agreement with Israel would mean that Hamas is ready to lay down its arms and abandon the armed struggle against the “Zionist enemy.” Such a “surrender” would be banned by the mullahs of Tehran, who have it as their stated goal to annihilate Israel.

In Iran’s view, the PIJ is its real ally in the Palestinian arena. And by Iran, the PIJ will always be seen as the natural replacement for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, should Hamas ever forge an agreement with Fatah or Israel.

In Iran’s view, the PIJ is its real ally in the Palestinian arena. And by Iran, the PIJ will always be seen as the natural replacement for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, should Hamas ever forge an agreement with Fatah or Israel.

Meanwhile, the PIJ is doing its utmost to prove its credibility to the rulers of Tehran. Last week, the PIJ’s military wing again sent its heavily armed fighters out into the streets of the Gaza Strip in a show of force against Hamas, Iran and the rest of the world.

Abu Hamzeh, a spokesman for the Jerusalem brigades, proudly declared during the paramilitary march that his group “will never compromise or bargain for a single centimeter of the land of Palestine – the whole of Palestine.” He added: “Our weapons are the symbol of our pride and the power of our people. We will resist all conspiracies and thwart all plans aimed at destroying our cause.”

What does all this mean for Gaza?

Firstly, that the situation there will hardly offer any positive changes. Even if Hamas was removed from power, the Palestinians would continue to struggle with other radical groups such as the PIJ.

Secondly, even if Hamas were to wake up early tomorrow and make a U-turn that led to the conclusion of a genuine ceasefire agreement with Israel, there will always be other terrorist groups that are ready to break such an agreement at any time, they might want it.

Thirdly, that the Gaza Strip will continue to swarm with heavily armed groups that will continue to unleash terrorist attacks on Israel and impose on the Palestinian people a regiment marked by terror and intimidation.

Fourth, that neither Abbas nor any other third party will ever be able to set foot in the Gaza Strip, implement law and order, and confiscate the weapons of terrorist groups.

These are some crucial factors that should be taken into consideration by any international party seeking a solution to the catastrophe called Gaza. Unless one then wants to be stuck in an alternative reality where everything would be fine, only Israel eased the restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

These are some crucial factors that should be taken into consideration by any international party seeking a solution to the disaster called Gaza. Unless one then wants to be stuck in an alternative reality where everything would be fine, only Israel eased the restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Sources and Notes

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning Arab-Israeli journalist based in Jerusalem.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute on October 9, 2018, How Iran Plans to Take Gaza . Translated into Danish by Mette Thomsen and published on October 28, 2018. Reprinted with permission from Gatestone Institute .

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