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