Hamas pressed to step up attacks as U.S. peace plan gains traction (Geostrategy-Direct) EMERGING THREATS ó Focus on Hamas week ending June 3/03)
The Islamic opposition to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat has been ordered to intensify attacks against Israel in the
wake of a plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian war.
Israeli intelligence sources said Hamas leaders in Damascus have
ordered operatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to renew suicide
strikes against Israeli civilian targets. Intercepts of Hamas
communications have referred to pressure for an offensive from
organization leaders in Beirut and Damascus.
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, the intelligence sources said, have
been warned of a cutoff in funds unless suicide strikes against
Israel are renewed. Hamas is believed to obtain about $80 million a
year from Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran and Syria have been vociferous opponents of the so-
called "Mideast Roadmap," which calls for an end to the Israeli-
Palestinian war and the establishment of an interim Palestinian state
by the end of the year. Under the roadmap, the PA has been asked to
dismantle insurgency groups and seize their weapons.
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have rejected the roadmap. But they
have not ruled out a ceasefire in the war against Israel if the
Jewish state ends attacks and frees Palestinian prisoners.
PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has met Hamas leaders but has not
relayed any demand that they disarm, Palestinian sources said. Abbas
was said to have urged Hamas and other insurgency groups to suspend
operations to facilitate Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and
Palestinian sources report continued friction between Abbas and
The sources said Arafat has not responded to an appeal by Egyptian
security chief Omar Suleiman to allow Abbas to operate PA security
Last weekend, a key panel of the ruling Fatah movement, headed by
Arafat, banned PA Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan from intervening
in the affairs of PA security agencies. Fatah´s Central Committee
said Dahlan does not have the authority to make any appointments in
the police or Preventive Security Apparatus. Earlier, Abbas had
empowered Dahlan to oversee the security forces.
On late Sunday, May 25, the new PA police chief, Brig. Gen. Mahmoud
Asfour, said his force will launch a new policy to impose order in
the Gaza Strip. Asfour said his police force will not engage in what
he termed "political security," a reference to Islamic insurgency
groups. (Copyright © 2003 East West Services, Inc. posted 05/30/03)
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