Sunday, January 01, 2012

  • Sunday, January 01, 2012
  • Elder of Ziyon
One of the better political analysts in Israel, Avi Issacharoff, wrote an intriguing analysis in Ha'aretz yesterday about whether Hamas has really changed

Using information that is not readily available, the dynamics of the split between Hamas leadership in Damascus and Gaza, a topic I wrote about a few days ago:

The announcement of the new mode of struggle sparked a series of angry reactions by senior figures in Hamas' political wing in Gaza; they, who had been considered more pragmatic, perhaps even moderate in their approach, endorsed a much tougher approach than Meshal's. However, this was not a case of a conservative ideology flying in the face of the new line articulated by Meshal: What really irked the Gaza officials, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar and others, was that they were not consulted before the announcement of the new policy was made.

This also explains Egypt's invitation to Haniyeh to visit Cairo, where he hasn't set foot for five years (because the Egyptians forbade it ). Egyptian intelligence, which initiated the intra-Palestinian reconciliation and is close to achieving that goal, wants to avoid last-minute obstacles and surprises.

The new-old power struggles in the top ranks of Hamas between those who are "inside" and those who are "outside" Palestine signify the second, dramatic metamorphosis the organization has undergone in the past few months. The Hamas leadership abroad - those who are described as being ensconced in Damascus and Tehran - has lost some of its status (and also some of its assets ) in the wake of the palpable crisis it finds itself in vis-a-vis the Syrian and Iranian regimes. Politically, Meshal, his deputy Mousa Abu Marzook, senior official Izzat Rishak and their colleagues have been weakened, as compared to the weight of the Gaza group. The "outside" leaders are currently trying to find new premises to rent across the Arab world, after the organization decided to leave Syria (which in turn led to a decision by Iran to cut its aid to Hamas ); within just a few weeks, they lost their political, military and financial mainstays.

Still, Meshal remains the organization's "big boss." He did not hesitate this week to emphasize that the decision to switch to popular resistance was approved by all the senior officials of the organization, not by him alone. For those seeking clarifications of Haniyeh's reactions, Meshal's close aides have explained that the prime minister is above all apprehensive about losing his position. Haniyeh's anger probably intensified when he learned that for now, at least, Hamas does not intend to run a candidate in the Palestinian presidential elections next May.

The historical decision to modify the character of the Palestinian struggle - alongside Hamas' agreement to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (and in large measure to accept the written agreements with Israel ) - does not necessarily attest to a strategic shift in terms of goals. It's possible that Meshal and his aides realize that for now they need to forgo terrorist attacks in favor of new and more effective ways of achieving their goals: Indeed, Meshal and his colleagues admit that they have not completely abandoned the armed struggle and that they reserve the right to resist the Israeli occupation "using all means." Meshal also emphasized that Hamas does not intend to disarm or to stop the organization's huge arms buildup in Gaza.

Other fascinating findings, some of which we knew and some we didn't:
Indeed, Hamas' financial situation in recent months has become increasingly dire: Tehran has slashed cash payments to Gaza, and revenues from smuggling activity via the Strip's tunnels have fallen off, due to the lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza. The changed economic situation compelled Hamas to take a number of drastic steps, such as firing several hundred members of the organization's security apparatus in Gaza. (The official Hamas version states that 150 members of the security forces were dismissed on account of "moral problems." ) In addition, Hamas forces seized control of several bank branches (of the Palestine Bank and the Palestinian Islamic Bank ) in Gaza and "withdrew" money from them by force. The third step being taken to keep the Hamas coffers full is to raise taxes.

Hamas' ostensibly "clean" image is also not what it used to be: More and more senior figures in the movement have become entangled in corruption scandals, though these are rarely reported in the media. The most prominent person involved is Ayman Taha, one of the leaders of Hamas in the Strip, who was exiled to Cairo because of his involvement in one scandal, and continues to operate from there.

Of late, a few less-senior figures in Hamas - some of whom were suspected of corruption, and others of whom tried to report such affairs - have undergone peculiar accidents. For example, Ahmed al-Mamluk was killed two weeks ago, according to Hamas, "while carrying out a jihad mission." His family says he was supposed to be meeting with a senior Hamas official to discuss a number of corruption cases. A similar "accident" befell Ali Nayef al-Haj, who was killed in an "internal explosion" in November; Mohammed Zaki al-Hams, who died in a road accident in early November; Mohammed al-Mahamoum, who died last June from electrocution in a Hamas outpost; and Ashraf Faraj Abu Hana, who drowned in a swimming pool last March. Hamas says this is a chance series of accidents, but the families have radically different versions.

Another challenge faced by Hamas in recent months is the activity of Islamic Jihad. The fact that Hamas has been observing a cease-fire on the Israeli front has sparked considerable domestic criticism in Gaza, and many activists have recently left and joined Islamic Jihad. Amazingly, Jihad is able to spot the "rebels" and recruit them even from Hamas-controlled mosques. It seems safe to say that Hamas' new policy will only heighten such challenges and further weaken its ability to exercise full control over events in Gaza.

Issacharoff thinks that unity between Gaza and Fatah is likely, even as he acknowledges that security forces in each territory are arresting members of the other party and apparently trying to sabotage the process.

I think that Fatah will move at least as much towards Hamas and the other way around. In fact, on Saturday, Tayseer Khaled, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that in the coming year the PLO will effect a gradual reduction of the level of relations with Israel, leading to cutting ties altogether.

Hamas, meanwhile, continues its hardline rhetoric, with Haniyeh emphasizing that Hamas "will never recognize Israel at all" and calling for every Arab nation to build a "Jerusalem Army" to help fight for the Jewish capital.

So if they are going to unify - something I still think is unlikely - it will be because Fatah is more interested peace with Hamas than with Israel. And the possibility that Hamas will engineer a takeover of the PLO is not something to be dismissed lightly.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive