“The idea is for Hamas to join after the ground is already burning,” says an Israeli researcher.
By Baruch Yedid, TPS
“Hamas is not interested in opening a front against Israel,” but a deterioration in Jerusalem will force it to react, a leader in the Gaza Strip told TPS.
The Palestinian Authority also estimates that Hamas is not seeking a large-scale confrontation at this time.
Over the weekend, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nahala discussed the strengthening of the coordination of the two terror groups, following the elimination of three Islamic Jihad terrorists by Israeli forces, but a source in Gaza reported Tuesday that Hamas is closely monitoring the activities of Islamic Jihad members in the Gaza Strip to prevent a confrontation with Israel.
He said that there is great motivation in the Islamic Jihad to respond but Hamas is closely monitoring and working to prevent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, an attack that could lead to another round of confrontation with Israel, against Hamas’ will.
The messages coming from Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey also demand that Hamas prevent attacks from the Gaza Strip, “Iran is pushing from here, Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey from here,” he said.
Another source in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas is not turning to escalation due to the serious civilian situation in the Gaza Strip and the growing unrest, and aims to maintain the Israeli relief policy in the meantime.
“Hamas is convinced that Israel is not interested in another round of violence, “he said, “but a multi-casualty incident or another significant event in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and especially in the run-up to Passover, when thousands of Jews are expected to visit the Temple Mount, could reverse Hamas’ decision and lead to escalation.”
“In such a case, Hamas will not be able to restrain itself and is required to comply with recent statements by its senior officials about a response to Israeli aggression in Jerusalem, and therefore firing into the area around Gaza should not be ruled out,” said a PA source in contact with the Gaza Strip.
The Qatari money, which flows through the fuel trucks coming from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, through which Hamas funds the salaries of its 27,000 civilian officials, also cools the enthusiasm for further escalation.
Hamas’ military wing is very pleased with the escalation in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and deep in Israel, and there is no intention to divert the fire to the Gaza Strip.
Orit Perlov, a social media researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), estimates that Hamas is behind the recent terrorist attacks.
“It was the headquarters of the resistance (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) that carried out the attacks, it was the one who recruited the terrorists,” she said in an interview. “It is easy for them to recruit those who have previously identified with ISIS, but in the end, the architect of this wave of terrorism is undoubtedly [senior Hamas official] Saleh al-Aruri.”
“The idea is for Hamas to join after the ground is already burning. Hamas is playing a double game here: on the one hand, it is a full partner in organizing the attacks, and on the other hand, it is lowering its profile a bit,” Perlov said.
“Hamas in Gaza is now enjoying the rehabilitation coming from Egypt, the salaries from Israel (Qatari money), and the unprecedented increase in recent years of the quota of workers entering Israel. In order not to jeopardize all this, Hamas Gaza is waiting for developments on the street before entering the war,” she added.