Hamas's Political Wing: Terror by Other Means

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Matthew Levitt - * A recent U.S. Treasury Department fact sheet described Hamas's political wing as the organization's "most effective and powerful wing" because "it controls the West Bank and prison branches of Hamas and has gained total financial control." The Treasury report identified some of the strictly military functions served by several senior Hamas political leaders: o Imad al-Alami, a member of Hamas's external leadership in Damascus, "has had oversight responsibility for the military wing of Hamas within the Palestinian territories. As a Hamas military leader, al-Alami directs sending personnel and funding to the West Bank and Gaza." o Khalid Mishal, head of the Hamas political committee in Damascus, personally oversees Hamas terrorist cells and supervises their operations. Not only are there "cells in the military wing based in the West Bank that are under [Mishal's] control," these cells "have been implicated in efforts by Hamas to plan large attacks that would undermine the road map peace plan." In fact, Mishal "has been responsible for supervising assassination operations, bombings, and the killing of Israeli settlers. To execute Hamas military activities, [he] maintains a direct link to Gaza-based Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi. He also provides instructions to other parts of the Hamas military wing." * Aside from the activities of Hamas political figures outside the territories, Hamas political leaders in the West Bank and Gaza also plan and participate in attacks. * For Hamas, political activities are an extension of terrorism. The international community must respond with the unequivocal message that no cause, however legitimate, justifies the use of terrorism.

2004-01-08 00:00:00

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