Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Condolzeeza Rice announced that the US would now provide more arms and ammunition for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Yet Rice gave no indication as to how she would assure that supplies headed towards Abbas, AKA Abu Mazen, would remain in Abbas’ hands.
That is because major caches of weapons and logistical equipment that were sent from Egypt, Jordan and Israel over the course of the past year to bolster Abbas have now been seized by Hamas.
Among other things, Hamas now has 16 armored personnel carriers that were in the service of the Abbas’s Presidential Guard. Some of the APCs were situated in the presidential compound in Gaza City and others were located in other military bases. The Hamas militiamen mainly seized light weaponry, ammunition, RPG launchers, light machineguns and light mortars. The militiamen also seized as booty other combat accessories, such as protective vests, binoculars, night vision equipment, military radios and numerous vehicles.
In the course of the past year, the Americans invested tremendous efforts in bolstering the Presidential Guard and in training it to be the principal force responsible for defending the Palestinian Authority. The Presidential Guard was expanded to a few thousand troops, who were sent to Jericho for training by British, Canadian and Australian counselors under American guidance. General Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the territories, was responsible for coordinating the construction of the Presidential Guard and constructing the security regimen at the Gaza Strip border crossings.
Hamas raid on the PA armed forces in Gaza lasted three days, with little resistence.
Hamas has captured the intelligence files of the Palestinian Authority, which include evidence of significant cooperation with Israel, the United States and Arab countries.
Hamas hauled away the files from the two leading security agencies under the control of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“If these files are thorough, then Hamas will know just about every secret,” a Palestinian security source told the Middle East Newsline. “That means, the requests of foreign nations, funding, meetings, joint operations, you name it.”
With the capture of Abbas’s security headquarters, Hamas was believed to have obtained at least 14 years of intelligence files. Hamas will undoubtedly share these files with its chief allies, Iran and Syria.
Hamas militiamen had been waiting for over a decade to take revenge on Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas’s head of security services whom Abbas had even brought for meetings with President Bush in the Oval office.
Yesterday the time came. They took over Dahlan’s home and offices in the Gaza Strip and turned them into a military outpost.
In the past, Dahlan headed the Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip. He was considered close to senior Israeli security officials and was hated by Hamas.
The deep hatred towards him was caused, among other things, by the orders he gave to shave the beards of many senior Hamas figures following the wave of terror attacks in 1996.
Since then, the Hamas militiamen waited for the day of revenge against Dahlan.
It would appear that Mohammed Dahlan predicted in advance the collapse of Fatah in the Gaza Strip. In recent months, he was in Egypt for what were defined as “health reasons.” Last Thursday he received permission from Israel to come from Egypt to Ramallah.
Hamas members took over not only Dahlan’s offices, but also his private residence. After looting and destroying the house, they demonstratively established a Hamas outpost on its ruins, in order to complete the humiliation of the person who was formerly considered the strong man of the Gaza Strip. Dahlan’s mother’s home was also looted, as were the homes and offices of many senior Fatah figures.
In an interview given on Saturday with Al-Arabiya, Dahlan accused Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Hamas of collaboration in an attempt to destroy the political situation in the PA. He charged Hamas with staging a coup and obstructing the dream of a Palestinian state.
“Abu Mazen knew precisely what Hamas was planning secretly,” said Dahlan, “nevertheless, we sat down and spoke with them in Damascus, Cairo, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Abu Mazen said to us, ‘be patient, perhaps the information about Hamas is incorrect,’ but then things happened as they did.”
When asked about the quick collapse of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, Dahlan said that the security services had lost about 40 percent of their personnel during the Intifada, and furthermore: they were not trained to fight Hamas. Dahlan accused Hamas of ungratefulness, since they destroyed, as he put it, the Palestinian security establishment, which concealed and protected half the Hamas leadership during the Palestinian rebellion against Israel was declared in October, 2000.
Dahlan stated that members of Hamas’ military wing had robbed and looted public institutions under the guise of Islam. “It is a mark of shame in Hamas’ history,” said Dahlan, “if the martyred Sheikh Ahmed Yassin [The Hamas leader killed by Israeli armed forces three years ago- DSB ] were among us today, he would disassociate himself from this behavior.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007