Abu Mazen Won't Fight Hamas

(Ha'aretz) - Danny Rubinstein There isn't much chance Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen will use force to make Hamas and Islamic Jihad give up. He doesn't have the political strength to fight Hamas. Much was said about how Muhammad Dahlan can take action against Hamas, the way he did in 1996 when he and Jibril Rajoub, his counterpart in the West Bank, chased down Hamas activists and drastically reduced the number of terror attacks. But what happened then cannot repeat itself. In those years there were relatively few militant Islamic cells, and Fatah didn't even have a military wing. Dahlan and Rajoub didn't really have a lot of work. A few members of Hamas cells were killed in mysterious circumstances, a few hundred were arrested, and the activities of the Islamic fanatics were blocked. Now there are far more Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, possibly even thousands, and they have broad public backing. If Abu Mazen and Dahlan want to suppress them, a limited campaign of arrests won't be enough - a war will be necessary. Therefore, Israelis looking forward to an Abu Mazen war on Hamas will be disappointed. Instead, they should expect a series of meetings between Abu Mazen and Hamas, and attempts to reach a compromise that, if achieved, will be far from the Israeli government's demands.

2003-05-12 00:00:00

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