The Hamas government's deputy foreign minister Dr. Ahmed Yousef is actively campaigning for the Gaza regime to form a strategic partnership with Iran on the same lines as the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah alliance.
debkafile's Middle East sources report that Yousef heads the radical Hamas's "moderate" wing.
His initiative will certainly be welcomed in Tehran as extending the Iranian foothold on the eastern Mediterranean from Lebanon as far south as the Gaza strip. Iran would also gain a forward position close to Israel's population centers, with leverage for expanding the wedge dividing Palestinian Hamas from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The ayatollahs would also be in place to threaten the stability of Jordan, where already Hamas-Damascus controls the local Muslim Brotherhood branch sufficiently to order its members to boycott last week's parliamentary elections.
Finally, close ties between Gaza and Tehran will bolster the Palestinian extremists' military and intelligence ties with Damascus and Hizballah. This will in turn boost the bloc led by Iran and Syria and add to its leverage for derailing any fence-building moves between the feuding Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah and perpetuate the division between the two Palestinian entities – one in Gaza and the other on the West Bank.
In any case, a further round of conciliation talks broke up in Damascus Wednesday, Nov. 10, without accord.
According to debkafile's sources, the Fatah delegation insisted that the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas be the sole sovereign authority for all security services in both territories.
For the first time, the Fatah delegation turned up with Palestinian security service officers from the West Bank – intelligence chief Gen. Majad Faraj and Preventative Security chief Col. Samir Rifai.
But the Hamas representatives demurred and instead demanded a "reconciliation and unification" to be drafted permitting each Palestinian faction to continue to rule its respective territory.
This dispute will decisively influence the US-sponsored talks between Israel and the Palestinians – if they ever take off. It means that the only accommodation attainable would be, at best, a partial one covering only the West Bank and a far cry from "the two nations living side by side in peace and security" goal aimed for by President Barack Obama and Secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
The tighter the prospective bond between Hamas and Iran, the farther it removes US policy objectives in the region.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, Ahmed Yousef was empowered by his superiors in the Hamas regime to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Gaza. He explained that the visit would "boost the morale of the resistance front here as did Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon."
In a broadcast over Israeli TV's Channel 2 that night, Arab Affairs commentator Ehud Yaari revealed that the Hamas official had laid the religious-ideological groundwork for his invitation with a new book entitled: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Distributed to Hamas leaders in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank as well as Gaza, the book's subtitle is: The Dialectic of State and Nation in the Thought of the Imams al-Banna and Khomeini.
Its preface was written by Dr. Muhammad al-Hindi, head of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, a violent Palestinian organization sponsored by Tehran which must therefore have approved the publication.
The writer explains that the contemporary affinity between Tehran and Hamas is neither random nor born of a marriage of convenience but rather predestined by the common aspiration for the divine ideal of an Islamic state.
According to debkafile's sources, the evolving partnership between Hamas and Iran and its negative impact on the prospect of an Israel-Palestinian peace is the key determinant of the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks – not, as claimed in Washington and Jerusalem, the row which has sprung up over 1,300 new Israeli apartments in old-established East Jerusalem suburbs.