Radical Palestinian Terror Chiefs Will Relocate from Damascus to Gaza after Pull-out
1. Hamas operatives are under orders to fire on Palestinian Authority security officers coming to arrest them and call the local people out on the street to hem them in.
2. Hamas claims that one of the Fatah captives (hostages) they seized Tuesday, July 19, in the northern district “confessed” the PA was planning to murder the heads of the Hamas “military” arm, the Ezz-e-din al Qassam Battalions. The videotaped “confession” is going around the Gaza Strip.
3. Factions of the Fatah al Aqsa Brigades in a sudden burst of loyalty are helping patchy efforts by PA security men and Mahmoud Abbas to confront Hamas gunmen shooting at Israelis. They are in fact obeying – not Abbas but the Damascus-based hardline Fatah leader Farouq Kaddumi. He has set a price for their support. As soon as the Israelis are gone from the Gaza Strip, he plans to transfer his headquarters there, along with the heads of the Damascus commands of Hamas and Jihad Islami.
4. Kadoumi’s first demand will be the abolition of the Palestinian Authority as the legitimate government of the Gaza and the West Bank and the transfer of rule to the Palestinian Liberation Organization to which Hamas and Jihad will be co-opted.
5. While these al Aqsa Brigades factions are siding with the PA for the infighting against Hamas, they have jumped aboard Hamas’s bombing offensive against Israel. Together they intend seizing the real estate Israel is about to evacuate. The Brigades therefore support the Abbas and the PA on one issue, oppose it on two.
6. After six days of hard bargaining, Hamas and the Brigades informed Abbas and the visiting Egyptian mediators, Generals Mustafa Bakri, deputy intelligence chief, and Mohammed Ibrahim, head of the Palestinian Desk, that their offensive against Israel will continue. They therefore rejected the bid for a return to the de facto truce.
7. A large group of 20 Egyptian military officers is due in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, July 20, to take up positions as “responsible observers” to monitor the Palestinian deployment (still non-existent) which is supposed to cordon off Israeli’s pull-out operation against a Hamas grab.
8. The PA, the Egyptian mediators and all the Palestinian organizations including Hamas and the Jihad Islami failed to deliver on a promised joint communique Tuesday announcing that the comparative lull shattered this month was back in place.
Monday and Tuesday, July 18-19, saw a certain slackening of Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets, compared with the preceding five days. debkafile‘s Palestinian sources explain that this improvement has nothing to do with the talks Abu Mazen backed by Egyptian generals has been conducting in Gaza with no results since last Thursday.
In any case, the Jihad Islami, for instance, which sent the suicide bomber who killed 5 Israelis at a Netanya mall earlier this month, never joined the truce in the first place. What the terrorist leaders, led by Hamas, are keeping their powder relatively dry for is a mass Israeli target in the form of the anti-disengagement march, which was supposed to reach the Kissufim checkpoint at the entrance to the Gaza Strip Wednesday, July 20.
If the demonstrators’ arrival is prevented by the all-out police-military effort launched Tuesday night to block their path, then Hamas will aim at the concentrations of Israeli troops and police as an alternative target of attack. Terrorist teams will at the same time resume their missile and mortar barrage of Sderot, Gaza communities and Israeli military positions.
According to debkafile‘s military sources, the Hamas has called up reserve gun squads and broken open ammunition stores kept for emergencies.
Thursday, July 21, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is due in the Middle East to try and defuse the crisis generated by the Hamas offensive lest it threaten the pull-out. Hamas will do its utmost to demonstrate Abu Mazen’s helplessness in the face of the Gaza turmoil. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon will wait politely for her to leave before launching reprisals – if then.