Hamas terrorist group looking beyond Gaza
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The rocket salvo that hit the Israeli communities adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border over the weekend was a harsh reminder that despite the flow of Qatari funds into the coastal enclave, the progress made on energy projects and the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zone, Israel is still far from achieving real calm in the volatile sector.
The color red alerts blaring across the sector and the IDF’s pounding of Hamas positions in Gaza was an equally loud reminder that the terrorist groups the Strip harbors, especially Hamas, have not shelved their aspirations to stretch beyond it, and have Ramallah and Jerusalem in their sights.
On Friday Gaza’s terrorist groups issued a joint statement warning Israel that the unrest in Jerusalem would “open the gates of hell.” A few hours later, the first rocket was fired, signaling the volley to come.
Later that evening a statement from Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar’s office said he had instructed “all elements to support” the Jerusalem riots.
The clashes in the Old City are fueled, among other things, by the Palestinian elections, slated to take place on May 22. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is actually looking for ways to walk back his intention to hold elections as polls predict Hamas, and potentially his rivals in Fatah – exiled strongman Mohammad Dahlan and Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel for his terrorist activity – would deal him a stinging defeat.
Fatah is facing an all-time low in terms of support across the West Bank and this may give Hamas a greater foothold, but the terrorist group will find itself between a rock and a hard place, as its operatives will have to contend with both the Israeli military and Palestinian security forces.
Israel has not said whether it will allow Palestinians in east Jerusalem to vote in the May elections, but security forces have arrested several Hamas candidates in east Jerusalem indicating that Israel is not exactly rushing to allow Hamas to usurp control of the Palestinian parliament.
All this means that recent events seek to pressure Israel to allow elections in east Jerusalem. Abbas has blamed Israel for the escalation and has lauded the rioters, but Fatah is not oblivious to the underlying message of the riots and the rocket fire.
A Hamas official said Saturday that the riots are proof that anyone who normalizes ties or pursues security coordination with Israel will “go down with it.” In other words, Hamas understands Abbas is trying to call off the elections and it has no intention of letting him get away with it.
Source: Israel Hayom