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 His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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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: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.