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May 06, 2010

Abbas on Hamas Threat in West Bank

hamas chilling.jpg

Hamas fighters relax in PA building after Gaza takeover

Too often, the media fail to acknowledge that Israeli wariness about possible changes to the West Bank status quo is, to a great extent, tied to concerns over the what could become of the territory after those changes. Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew, and turned the territory into a large rocket launching pad. It would be catastrophic if the same happened in the West Bank.

Although indirectly, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas brought this issue to the foreground yesterday, and news organizations took note:

The Palestinian president on Thursday accused Hamas of smuggling large amounts of weapons into the West Bank as part of the militant group's efforts to undermine his administration.

President Mahmoud Abbas' his swipe at his Hamas rivals comes at a sensitive time, with the Palestinians divided between rival governments and U.S.-brokered indirect peace talks with Israel getting under way. Abbas said his security forces have confiscated most of the smuggled weapons.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas' forces three years ago, and the two factions have been at odds since. Israel fears Hamas could also stage a violent takeover in the West Bank, and those security concerns, along with the Palestinian factions' failure to reconcile, are likely to be key issues in the new round of peace talks.

In a newspaper interview published Thursday, Abbas accused Hamas of undermining efforts to reconcile the two factions by challenging his administration's power in the West Bank.

"What they are doing is smuggling weapons and explosives and storing them in the West Bank," he told the London-based Arabic paper Sharq al-Awsat. "On a daily basis, we find caches of weapons and big amounts of explosives."

Read the entire AP piece here.

Posted by GI at May 6, 2010 05:15 PM

Comments

If Israel is patient enough..Hamas and PA (Fatah) will fight each other. Israel will save a lot of ammo!

Posted by: Bert L at May 10, 2010 10:22 PM

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