The immediate response when told that Hamas is the future of the Palestinian efforts to destroy Israel is people ask if you have missed the news that Hamas was dissolved and that the Palestinian Authority won and has taken their position as the leaders of all of the Palestinian Arabs, both the West Bank, actually named Judea and Samaria, and Gaza in a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas at its head. That is what the news has reported but then again that same news claims that Israel started the last Gaza War despite the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists followed by two weeks of accelerating rockets raining on Israeli communities before Israel fired a single shot. But don’t trouble the news media with trivial facts as they would only serve to confuse them. So, rather than write more letters to the editor, why don’t we share some facts about the premature announcement of the death of Hamas. The story starts about a year ago when the Egyptians destroyed unbelievable numbers of smuggling tunnels which Hamas had taxed to provide them with their operational budgets. Hamas had much of its terror financing provided by Iran and Qatar but still had the operational budget to cover their governance of Gaza. It was that operational budget which put Hamas into a bind from which it had no escape, so they decided to simply surrender and gift the Palestinian Authority with the burden of ruling and managing the day to day governance of Gaza. This also placed the numerous months of unpaid salaries for Gaza government employees before Mahmoud Abbas and the new unity government. Freed from having to govern and provide for Gaza, Hamas immediately turned to what it does best, attacking Israel and committing terrorist offensives all in the name of Allah and being financed and supplied and even oft times directed and managed by Iran and Qatar. So now the Palestinian Authority gets to run the day to day drudgery of managing the entirety of the Palestinian Arab population including meeting salaries of excessively over-bloated government heavily tilted to security and police forces as it also must provide for the Fatah terrorist arms.
As a parting gift, Hamas forced the Gaza war with Israel which resulted in great amounts of destruction throughout Gaza which now has become the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority and the unity governance to direct all the reconstruction while Hamas continues to conduct its terror war. Hamas did pay a price in Gaza for their forcing the war with Israel and many Gazans hold great amounts of resentment against Hamas for their forcing three wars with Israel within the first decade since the Israeli disengagement, an event which was supposed to provide Gazans with a great and promising future only to be destroyed by Hamas initially by their military takeover of Gaza and then its three wars with Israel. Now that Hamas has surrendered Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, the displeasure with the lack of repairs, rebuilding and reestablishing of a functioning economy now falls inevitably to the Palestinian Authority who has had the entire responsibility placed in their lap. On the other hand, Hamas won far more support all across the West Bank and even with those fanatics in Gaza due to their fighting with Israel while the Palestinian Authority appears to be cooperating with Israel by comparison. Hamas has taken on the mantle of the strong horse compared to the Palestinian Authority appearance as the tired and beaten horse. The war with Israel was intentionally initiated by Hamas so as to gain popularity in the one place where they had no direct influence, the West Bank. This was accomplished through the war with Israel and their claims to have won the war simply by surviving and, according to their propaganda, forcing Israel to retreat from Gaza allowing Hamas to turn Gaza over to the unity government. Then they have made grand demands in order to make peace and by refusing to sign anything less again could claim to have resisted Israel and as no peace or agreement has been signed to have defeated Israel and embarrassed Israel on the world stage. Whether any of these claims are actually true matters little, just being able to make such claims will serve the Hamas propaganda goals and give them an advantage whenever the elections for the new parliament and leadership take place to takeover rule from the temporary government put in place as a placeholder from the time when Hamas acquiesced to the formation of a unity government and the formation of the new unity government which will rule all of the Palestinian Arab population across the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas has been playing for the advantage in these elections since a good year before they appeared to collapse and be forced to allow the Palestinian Authority take over rule in Gaza from Hamas and their plans continue on pace for any eventuality where the elections will finally be held.
Hamas is now freed of the tawdry tedium of ruling Gaza and are completely freed to conduct their continuing terror war against Israel and by so, campaigning for the eventual elections for the unity government. They no longer need bother themselves with collecting taxes from smuggling tunnels, especially since digging such tunnels after Egypt has collapsed them and often even filled them with water from the Mediterranean Sea, which provided funds for governing Gaza and paying the payrolls which they had been falling ever further behind. They simply had to take the funding and supplies provided by Iran and Qatar and consume themselves purely with conducting their terror war. The recent murder of the four Rabbis during morning prayers in Jerusalem along with severely injuring a half dozen others and murdering a Druze police officer who rushed in as the first officer to arrive in a heroic attempt to save those who he might be able was perpetrated by Hamas using terrorists from the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorists, a terror group which some have claimed has been subsumed by Hamas as have other older and smaller terror entities. The rioting on the Temple Mount has been paid for and choreographed by Hamas despite the instigations made by Mahmoud Abbas which he has been spouting in a feeble attempt to take credit for the violence as he knows that without such credit he will have no possibility of winning any future elections. The drive-by terrorist attacks where Palestinian Arab drivers ran through crowds waiting for the light rail trains, busses or at street corners to cross intersections were committed by Hamas drivers. Almost all of the attacks, riots and violence committed by Palestinian Arabs in and around Jerusalem have been planned, financed, equipped and terrorist provided by Hamas. Much of the rock throwing has been perpetrated by Palestinians responding to the incitement of Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas has yet to infringe on this territory but if these attacks should take a more violent turn and begin to be shooting attacks or using roadside bombs, then we can expect that Hamas has coopted the general levels of violence which have plagued much of Judea and Samaria and the Jewish residents living therein. The recent explosions of violence in the Galilee might be either Hamas or Abbas and his incitement pressing themselves into new frontiers, only time and questioning from arrests will reveal.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Hamas is expanding their terror war out of Gaza and across the length and breadth of the West Bank in an attempt to gain general acclaims and maximize the support they can garner going into the elections for the new unity government. These elections were supposed to have taken place during the Gaza war which, of course, made holding elections quite impossible. The elections were then put off for a few months until order was reestablished in Gaza and the government could make ready to facilitate elections. This may be the one calculation which Hamas may have miscalculated, namely that now Abbas has control on when and if elections are to be held. As Abbas has put off the elections for his own office countless times since they were presumably to be held in 2009, it should be second nature to him to put off elections for a new unity government for easily an equal amount of time, say about five years. Abbas is not anybody’s fool and is fully aware of his life expectancy should Hamas take control of the Palestinian government. It was recently made so clear to him when the Israeli Shin Bet and IDF broke up and arrested a large Hamas cell which had been planning to strike the Palestinian Authority with a coup in the West Bank and take over the government. Their intent was to explode the entirety of the West Bank into a roiling terrorist war forcing the Israelis to invade the West Bank to restore calm at which point Hamas was planning on launching their coup and would have likely blamed Israel for the deaths of the Palestinian Authority leadership which they would have removed to make room for their takeover. Their plans probably were counting on the European, United Nations and maybe even the United States President and State Department to take the bait and also blame the Israelis and without bothering to wait for any investigation demand that Israel redeploy every Israeli from beyond the Green Line and remove all IDF, police and other forces also within the Green Line resulting in Hamas taking over both the West Bank and Gaza and removing their competition permanently from the picture. With their grand scheme shot to pieces, it appears that Hamas has taken to plan B and are simply going to sustain an elevated level of violence and bide their time hoping either to win in elections or regroup and make another attempt at a coup in the future. Hamas can always start to make demands for the elections for the unity government to be held though they will do so from behind the scenes using people who are not known Hamas members or even use Palestinian Authority personnel which they have coopted, there has to be a few turncoats among thieves, and wait for the Europeans and United States to pressure Abbas into holding elections and, after being burned last time by Abbas cancelling elections for his post, demanding that the elections be comprehensive and every position be on the same ballot. Hamas is willing to be patient as whether it takes elections or a forceful coup, they are assured that they will eventually assume the governing of the Palestinian Arabs by vote or by putsch, either one as they are not proud. In the meantime the leadership of Hamas can continue to collect their skimmed funds and enrich themselves further as the other lesson the Hamas leadership has learned is that terror pays and pays very handsomely.
Beyond the Cusp