India Intelligence Report

   Hamas-Abbas Clash Deepens


The political and power standoff between Palestinian Territories President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas-led Government escalated several notches with security forces loyal to both parties clashing and burning assets belonging to the other.

At the heart of the conflict is Abbas’s desire to continue peace dialogue with Israel that he and his Fattah party had assiduously created. Hamas rejects the fundamental tenets of peace negotiation—accepting Israel’s right to exist through the reorganization of the state of Israel, renouncing violence, and accepting past agreements. Abbas passed a decree that announced a referendum so people can either choose peace or a path of conflict. Hamas has dismissed this decree as “a coup against the Government” and warned that “whoever announced the referendum should shoulder the responsibility for the dangerous consequences.”

Hamas gunmen attacked the building housing security personnel loyal to Abbas using rockets and grenades which resulted in a retribution attack in Ramallah on Hamas targets by Abbas loyalists setting fire to various buildings. Even though the Parliament building was unoccupied, one floor of a Cabinet building was fully gutted. Terrorists loyal to the Fattah party fired on firemen from within the Parliament building preventing a rescue operation. Abbas’s Presidential Guard arrived later to secure the burnt out Parliament and Cabinet buildings. On Monday, Fattah gunmen briefly kidnapped Hamas lawmaker and apparently beat him up—the motive for this incident is unknown.

Abbas declared an emergency ordering people off the streets in what is being seen as an increasingly bitter conflict with Hamas supporters in the West Bank and Abbas loyalists in Gaza.

Earlier, Israel launched an air raid in Northern Gaza against a vehicle carrying 2 Islamic Jihad terrorists armed with deadly Katyusha rockets. While the attack killed the terrorists and destroyed the rockets, it also killed 9 civilians including 2 children. Blaming Israeli artillery fire for killing 7 pleasure seekers on a Gaza beach, the Hamas fired 6 rockets at Israel ending a 16-month old truce. Hamas vowed to send more rockets with longer ranges at Israel, but it was impossible to confirm whether the rockets actually landed in Israel. In a sharp departure from earlier hawkish behavior, Israeli Defense Minister announced his “deepest regret at the deaths of innocent people.” While Israel concedes that the Hamas has largely respected the truce, it accuses the terrorist group of helping other terrorist groups to fire rockets from the territories it vacated in Gaza. Israel has even threatened to assassinate Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniya if they continued this cycle of violence. It has even

captured a Hamas “commander” violating ceasefire accords claiming that he was going to be released by Hamas.

Most world powers are not supporting the Hamas Government withdrawing non-humanitarian aid. Iran has been trying to raise awareness on the suffering of Palestinians with other Muslim countries but so far has received little support. Indian communists have asked Indians to contribute monies to help the Palestinians but the success of their efforts is not known.