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November 13, 2007

Why Zahar's Threat Matters

Yesterday, we blogged about Mahmoud Zahar's under-reported threat that Hamas would takeover the West Bank if Israel pulled out. A report in Ha'aretz today underscores why such threats by Zahar warrant serious coverage:

The Gaza sources said Monday that the rift within Hamas' leadership is worsening, and the more extreme faction has taken over the organization in the Strip.

The sources said the faction includes most of Hamas' military wing, and is led by former foreign minister Mahmoud a-Zahar, head of the military wing Ahmad Jabari, and former interior minister Sa'id Siyam.

It relies on Iranian funding, the sources said, and is conducting a completely independent policy: It no longer listens to either Khaled Meshal, head of the organization's Damascus-based political office, or Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.

The sources estimated that Haniyeh controls at most 30 percent of Hamas' fighting forces - even among the Executive Force, which is technically subordinate to his government.

Senior IDF officers offered a similar assessment. The military wing, controlled by Jabari, has effectively gained control of Gaza, they said; this faction ignores directives from Meshal and dictates to Haniyeh.

The extremist faction seeks to reproduce Hamas' takeover of Gaza in the West Bank. Haniyeh's faction, in contrast, believes the takeover of Gaza was a mistake, and has no desire to repeat it in the West Bank.

Posted by TS at November 13, 2007 07:04 AM


If Haaretz must be used as a source - surely there are others - for the information warning about a worrying development, the language it uses about a "more extreme faction" should not pass without question. It would surely be better to talk of factions, all of which have the extreme political goal of destroying Israel, which pursue tactics or strategies which can be describes as pragmatic - in this strictly limited context.

Posted by: Paul at November 15, 2007 06:28 AM

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