Jerusalem – A senior Israeli intelligence source told the media on Thursday that Hamas has threatened to expand its rule to Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.

The political adviser of Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Hamas, declared on Wednesday that “our patience in the West Bank has its limits. The day will come when we will settle the score with the isolated group in Ramallah that gives instructions to attack Hamas members in the West Bank.” The adviser, Ahmed Yousef, said this to the Palestinian news agency Maan in response to the armed clash that took place on Tuesday at a-Najah University in Nablus, in which ten students were injured, and in response to the many arrests of Hamas members made by Fatah security personnel in the West Bank.

“The criminal behavior of Fatah members in the West Bank against Hamas members will end sooner or later, and just as Abu Mazen’s camp in Gaza collapsed, it will collapse in the West Bank too, and those responsible will be punished as they were punished in Gaza,” said Yousef. He said that Israel plans to assassinate Hamas’s leaders at the request of the Fatah leaders. Yousef also said that Hamas has information that “Fatah members are behind the closure of the border crossings and the continued siege on the Gaza Strip, in order to pressure Hamas.”

In response to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ demand to hold early elections, Yousef said that Hamas would agree to hold the elections only on their original date. “If [Abbas] insists on holding new elections, let him hold them in the West Bank. It would appear that the people of Ramallah want a state in the West Bank with Ramallah as its capital.”

Israel authorized the transfer of 1,000 rifles from Jordan to the PA in the West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian security sources confirmed to Haaretz Wednesday night. This is the largest arms transfer authorized in recent years, and it is meant to aid forces loyal to Abbas in preventing the possibility of a Hamas challenge and possible takeover similar to that of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this year, several thousand rifles were delivered to Fatah forces in Gaza and the West Bank, and most of those arms came under Hamas’ control following its takeover.

Syria Maintains Offensive Positions

Despite appeals by the United States, The Middle East Newsline confirms that Syria has maintained its forward ballistic missile positions near Israel.

Israeli military sources said the Syrian military has maintained its Scud C and Scud D ballistic missile batteries in southern Syria. The sources said the missile batteries have maintained full combat readiness and could be launched at any time.

“We have tried to reach an arrangement where each side takes measures to ease tensions,” an Israeli military source said. “The Syrians have not responded.”

Sources said the Syrian military has been deploying hundreds of Scud Ds and Scud Cs for a massive first strike on Israel. They said the Syrian missiles, including the SS-21, could reach virtually any part of the Jewish state.

On July 24, Israeli military intelligence briefed Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on Syrian military capabilities. Intelligence officers said the high readiness of Syrian missile batteries suggest that Damascus was preparing a first strike.

“The Syrians are limiting their preparations to ballistic missiles, air defense and commando operations,” the source said. “Their first move would be an attack on our cities rather than a tank invasion of the Golan.”

The sources said Syria has also brought military personnel in plainclothes to help re-populate villages in the Golan Heights near the demilitarized zone with Israel. They said this could indicate that Syria was adopting the Hezbollah model of establishing a civilian shield from which to attack Israel.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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