Countdown to Palestinian Civil War

The Palestinians Ramp Up For Violence:

* Hamas will continue to attack Israel from Gaza after the evacuation
* Hamas says it has lost faith in Abbas
* Hamas admits to being rewarded for their acts of terrorism!
* PA Security Forces looking to handle security operations are weakened

And, after unsuccessful meetings this weekend in Damascus and the Israeli evacuation from Gaza a month away, a Palestinian Civil War looks more likely than not…

After talks in Syria, Hamas leaders threatened to openly confront the Palestinian Authority and to continue attacks on Israel.

A senior Hamas official yesterday threatened both open confrontation with the Palestinian Authority and continued attacks on Israel from Gaza after the disengagement, saying that Hamas had “lost faith” in Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

In an interview with a local Gaza news agency, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas was not willing “to serve as a fig leaf” for PA control of Gaza following the disengagement, would not give up its weapons and was liable to continue bombarding Israel with mortars and rockets from Gaza after the disengagement “in order to liberate the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

However, other senior Hamas officials moved quickly to try to moderate the fears of civil war that Zahar’s interview aroused among the Palestinian public. Sheikh Hassan Yusuf, a senior Hamas leader from Ramallah, for instance, published a statement saying that Zahar “exaggerated in describing [Hamas’] differences of opinion with the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen.”

Zahar, who gave the interview as Abbas was in Damascus to try and reach an agreement with Hamas’ external leadership on various PA-Hamas disputes, warned: “The Palestinian Authority and Fatah need to know that what they are doing now is playing with fire. They will bear responsibility for ignoring Hamas and the [other] factions and for their insistence on managing the withdrawal alone. We will not serve as a fig leaf on this matter, nor will we allow it [the PA] to steal the achievements of the street and Hamas – the sacrifice of its [Hamas’] sons and its leadership to liberate the land of Gaza – just so that this land will be distributed to some individual or another.”

** From this last paragragh you see that Hamas understands that the Palestinians are being rewarded for their terrorism. The Israelis may not see this, but Hamas does! **

The security forces are ill-prepared to take over responsibilities after the evacutation:

Addressing the policemen, who are training in two camps for their upcoming security duties, Interior Minister Nasser Youssef said: “You have to be ready. You are the defenders of law and order.”

The men are members of a 5,000-strong force that President Mahmoud Abbas created last month to counter any possible looting or militant takeover of the 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza that Israel plans to evacuate.

But Palestinian security forces — a dozen of them — have been weakened during a 4-1/2-year uprising against Israel, beset by infighting, accused of corruption and discredited at the expense of militants who now lay down the law on some streets.

But, Abbas says he will continue to consult with the terror groups:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday he will keep consulting with Islamic opposition groups during and after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, even though they have rejected an offer to join his government.

Update: GOPinion was following this news as well, today.

And, Powerline (who has linked here) is concerned about the Hamas situation in their “London Calling” post today.

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