The Security Implications of a Hamas-Led Palestinian Authority

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon - * It is not sufficient to say that Hamas' victory was simply a Palestinian popular response to Fatah corruption; it must be viewed, more accurately, as a victory for radical Islamism, as perceived by radical Islamists globally. Hamas' electoral victory provides encouragement to terrorists and rogue regimes, and inspiration to Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in pro-Western regimes, including Egypt and Jordan. * Hamas' victory will improve cooperation among the Hamas-led PA, Hamas terror apparatuses, Palestinian terrorist organizations, Iran, and al-Qaeda, a dangerous alliance which will grow with or without Western financial backing of the Hamas-led government. * Hizballah has moved operational headquarters from Beirut to Gaza, while operating terror cells in the West Bank and Gaza; its ability to operate will only increase once Hamas officially takes power. * Hamas will permit al-Qaeda elements to increasingly penetrate the PA, where they are currently recruiting frustrated Fatah activists and former Hamas terrorists opposed to the period of calm. * Hamas will pursue - by production or imports - longer-range, more lethal, and more accurate rockets, capable of hitting Ashkelon and more northern coastal cities. Hamas will further attempt to import hand-held air defense missiles and antitank missiles. * The main security issue to be settled between Hamas and Abbas is responsibility for the PA's various security apparatuses. Abbas is certainly not the horse to bet on in this dispute. * Hamas will likely maintain the murabitoun (approximately 3,000 armed militiamen) and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (its terror apparatus), much like the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, to be deployed at its discretion. At the same time, Hamas will likely allow other proxies, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah terror activists, to operate under its directives. * The international community must unite behind a diplomatic siege and an active boycott of the PA. Israel should freeze its economic agreements with the PA on border procedures and further intensify its military counterterrorism activities, especially in Gaza. The writer served as Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces until June 2005.

2006-02-21 00:00:00

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