Abdullah Iskandar
Dar Al-Hayat
January 12, 2011 - 1:00am

So it is thus that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is busy “forcing” the other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to commit to the settlement with Israel, based on the “assessment of general interest and the protection of the Palestinian people and their capabilities” according to the movement’s spokesman. This came in response to the launching of rockets on Israel and the eruption of clashes with its army, after which the Hebrew state threatened to wage a wide-scale operation in the Strip if this situation were to continue.

In other words, Hamas reached the same conclusion which had already been reached by the Palestinian authority years ago, knowing that Hamas had ousted this authority from the Strip by use of arms in June 2007 under the pretext of instating truce with Israel and preventing the resistance fighters from attacking it.

This new position may be a useful element at the level of inter-Palestinian dialogue and the reconciliation efforts, as long as there is concord between Hamas and the authority over the launching of operations against Israel. However, the behavior of the movement reveals the complete opposite.

Indeed, Hamas’s new position toward the operations against Israel, which is the most frank ever since it imposed its control over the Strip, not only reflects a wish not to escalate the situation from the Strip, but also a wish to maintain this control. This would explain why the movement has called for the resistance against and deterrence of the occupation by all possible means in the West Bank, while preventing it in the Gaza Strip and forcing the remaining factions to abide by this ban.

In the West Bank, Hamas considers that any operation against the occupation forces – regardless of its importance or goals – will lead to the authority’s embarrassment. This would either be due to its inability to contain security (for which it is also being blamed by Israel) or to its pursuit of the perpetrators of the operation, which would consequently render it a collaborator with the occupation. This Hamas tactic was successful during the second uprising and was able to prevent any agreements which may have been possible between Israel and the late President Yasser Arafat through resounding suicide operations. Hamas also forced Israel to besiege Arafat on the political level and on the field until his suspicious death.

The proof for the wish to repeat this scenario is the political exploitation and the campaign of accusations launched against the authority a few days ago, when Israel arrested members from Hamas who had been detained by the authority after they had targeted settlers.

In the Strip however, any targeting of Israel poses a threat on “general interest and the capabilities of the people,” i.e. on Hamas’s ongoing control over the Strip. This is due to the fact that any wide-scale escalation with Israel in Gaza will increase the suffering of the blockaded Palestinians and will prompt the rise of disgruntlement against Hamas’s rule, which is being imposed by force and without any consideration for plurality or political and social diversity.

In the West Bank, Hamas is waging a broad mobilization campaign in favor of the resistance and is calling for the use of all possible means in the face of the occupation. Moreover, it is supporting this campaign with accusations made against the authority of “collaborating with the enemy” because it considers that the resolution of the Palestinian cause should be political, and that escalation on the field will serve Israel, whether through measures on the ground or the increase of the security conditions at the level of the solution.

In the Strip however, Hamas is calling on the factions to contain the situation on the field, in order to “prevent the enemy from seizing the opportunity and allow the prevalence of higher interests.”

This is how Hamas allows the resistance against Israel in the West Bank where its outcome will be secured at the authority’s expense, and prohibits it in the Strip where the outcome will be secured at its own expense.


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