The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Hamas officials assert their Islamic regime in the Gaza Strip could rapidly topple the Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah.
Hamas, which captured the Gaza in June 2007, has allegedly penetrated virtually every PA security agency, including the intelligence apparatus.
“The current situation in the West Bank is similar to that in the Gaza Strip before Hamas took control,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.
“Security forces are committing crimes in their interrogation and torture centers.”
In a July 31 statement, Hamas warned it could seize power from the Fatah movement in Ramallah. So far, Mr. Abu Zuhri said, Hamas has rejected such an option.
“We remind them [Fatah] that they planted thorns and they will harvest regret,” Mr. Abu Zuhri said.
In 2008, the PA assessed that Hamas has formed a social welfare and educational network that could be expanded should Hamas seize power.
The Hamas threat was issued amid a PA crackdown on the Islamic opposition movement. Both Hamas and PA have arrested opposition members, sparked by a spate of bombings in the Gaza Strip on July 25 in which three Hamas military officers were killed.
On Friday, Hamas security forces continued to arrest Fatah operatives.
At least 17 Fatah members, including Gaza Gov. Mohammed Al Qudra, were arrested.
The PA said it would launch a worldwide boycott of Hamas in wake of its assault on a Fatah-aligned clan in Gaza City. About 200 members of the Hilles clan, accused of killing the three Hamas officers, fled to Israel on Aug. 2 to escape Hamas troops.
Yet the following day, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas ordered Hilles members to return to the Gaza Strip. At least 34 clan members reentered the Gaza Strip, where they were promptly arrested by Hamas.
“After the occupation [Israel] refused to receive most of those who fled Gaza,” Mr. Abu Zuhri said, “Dozens have returned and the Palestinian police have taken them into custody.”
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008