Hamas smells blood: ‘This could be the beginning of the end for the PA’

“Hamas is well-coordinated with Islamic Jihad, but the more worrying phenomenon is the growing relationship between Hamas and the Popular Front.”

By Baruch Yedid/TPS

Hamas is anticipating what it sees as the strong possibility that the Palestinian Authority may soon collapse.

“This could turn out to be the beginning of the end for the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is determined to shake the stability of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] by hitting Israeli targets and shifting its focus to the Palestinian Authority,” a Palestinian security source told TPS, referring to the recent wave of terrorism against Israelis in the Palestinian Authority and the increase in tensions between the PA and Hamas.

Other Palestinian sources, including senior PA, Fatah and security officials, say that Hamas recognizes the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, both politically and economically, and the disintegration of support and legitimacy for Abbas’ rule in recent months.

“The Palestinian Authority after the protests in recent months is not what it used to be,” says a Palestinian source, adding, “and on the other hand, the PA acts very foolishly when it forces its security forces to act against the popular events organized by Hamas on the street.”

Another source told TPS, “The disintegration of Fatah, as it took place in the run-up to the elections in May this year, also caught Hamas’ attention after it completed a successful election process and placed its young leaders, members of the military, including Yahya Senwar in Gaza, Saleh Aruri and Zohar in positions in territories of the PA.”

TPS has also learned of unrest in the security forces due to the PA’s policy against Hamas. An officer in one of the Palestinian security services says that junior officers oppose the orders coming from the top that demand they prevent any activates like processions or receptions for prisoners, organized by Hamas. According to the officer, among the security forces, the unrest is growing mainly from the directives to repeatedly detain Hamas prisoners who have been released from Israeli prisons and are under PA surveillance.

A Palestinian intelligence officer from the Nablus area told TPS, “When the forces were required to disperse the demonstration in Nablus after the death of Jamil Kiel, the young man killed by IDF fire, one could feel great anger among the junior officer of the security forces. In Jenin, too, there is great unrest among members of the security forces, who are repeatedly required to act against Hamas.”

The Palestinian security official also said, “Officers have complained that the Palestinian Authority has become more identified with security coordination with Israel in a way that endangers its people,” adding that junior officers suggested that Fatah members take to the streets and join Hamas.

He added, “The Palestinian Authority is opaque and detached from what is happening on the street and may herald the beginning of its end, and it continues to act against Hamas, which has a very large force on the ground.”

A senior Fatah official in Samaria reinforces the allegations, saying “Recently, Fatah operatives have been moving over to the ranks of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, especially in Samaria, so as not to be identified with the PA or with the disintegrating Fatah.”

A member of one of the PLO institutions tells TPS, “There is no doubt that Hamas recognizes the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and is working to shock it by a series of terrorist incidents against Israeli targets, thus also pressuring Israel on the issue of rehabilitating the Gaza Strip.”

He said, “Hamas is well-coordinated with Islamic Jihad, but the more worrying phenomenon is the growing relationship between Hamas and the Popular Front.”

In his opinion, “Hamas recognizes the intention of the Arab states, especially Egypt and Jordan, to bring about a renewal of the political process between Israel and the Palestinians, and it seems that it has decided not to allow this and to damage stability in the PA territories.”