In West Bank, Hamas Beaten Down, But Not Out

(Reuters) Tom Perry - For more than three years, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has tried to crush the Islamist movement Hamas and has weakened, but not wiped out, the group. Mass arrests, arbitrary detention and torture, documented by Palestinian human rights groups, are part of the PA's campaign against Hamas. The PA has fired hundreds of people, many of them teachers, for real or suspected Hamas ties. By its own admission, Hamas is a shadow of its former self in the West Bank, although PA security forces say Hamas continues to plot against Abbas' administration. On Oct. 8, Israeli forces killed two members of the Hamas military wing who were suspected of killing four Israelis in the West Bank. Thousands of Hamas supporters turned out for the funerals in a rare public show of strength. Hamas "is a big organization with wide support from the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, Iran, Qatar," said Palestinian political commentator Hany al-Masri. "Its strength will retreat, but it will not lose it completely."

2010-10-29 08:54:02

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