Recent reports show that Hamas is increasing its efforts to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israel. This is most likely an effort to wrest control away from the Palestinian Authority despite efforts by the Biden administration to prop up the unpopular Abbas government.
60 potential terrorists recruited, 45 arrested
Kan News reported on Sunday that Abdallah Arar, working out of Gaza, contacted some 60 West Bank Palestinians over the past six months to try to recruit them to carry out attacks. According to the report, Arar contacted Arab residents inside Israel via the internet, utilizing social media, and by phone. He was reportedly successful at recruiting and also gave detailed instructions on how to find targets for attacks and build bombs.
Arar is a known Hamas terrorist from Gaza who was convicted for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli man Sasson Nuriel in 2005. Arar was released in 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange that resulted in the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was being held hostage by Hamas.
The news comes two weeks after Israel announced it had arrested dozens of students from Birzeit University and were “directly involved in terror activities, including money transfers, incitement and the organization of Hamas activities.” The students, members of a student organization called “the Prisoners Club, were arrested while paying a solidarity visit to the demolished home of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli and wounded two others in a drive-by shooting in May. 45 were arrested but 12 were later released.
Hamas on the rise
The renewed push by Hamas to generate terrorism inside Israel comes in the wake of the conflict in May between Gaza and Israel. Though it may seem counterintuitive to people unfamiliar with the situation in the region, despite having over 150 of their military wing being killed in IDF airstrikes, the conflict resulted in a massive rise in the popularity of Hamas. Hamas currently holds a majority in the parliament of the Palestinian Authority. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in June found that 53% of Palestinians believe Hamas is “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people,” while only 14% prefer Abbas’ secular Fatah party.
As a result, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas since 2017, was reelected on Sunday for another four-year term. In comparison, Mahmoud Abbas responded to pressure from the Biden administration by calling for elections to be held in July. It would have been the first election for the PA since 2005. In April, Abbas postponed the election indefinitely, blaming Israel. A more likely explanation would be Hamas’ popularity in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.
This is similar to what happened in Gaza after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 left a vacuum in leadership. An election in Gaza in 2006 resulted in a Hamas victory. A civil war ensued, pitting Hamas against Fatah and resulting in over 600 Gazans being killed. Hamas became the ruling party in Gaza in 2007.
The conflict in May could also be used to solidify Hamas’ standing. The Biden administration pledged that aid to rebuild Gaza would flow through PA coffers. But it is unclear whether this pledge can be upheld and even the State Department has admitted that it cannot ensure that some of this aid will be hijacked for terrorism.
Dr. Kedar: Terrorism as a method of conquering
Dr. Mordechai Kedar a senior lecturer on Arabic culture at Bar-Ilan University who served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence, explained that terrorism is intended to impress fear of Hamas on the Palestinians.
“Hamas took Gaza from the PA and now they are actively working to take Judea and Samaria from them,” Dr. Kedar said. “Terrorism is the way they do this. Terrorism is not a goal unto itself. They want to create a situation in which they are the address for everything in Judea and Samaria from top to bottom. To do this they need to make clear that if any Palestinian has a problem with this, Hamas will kill them. If it means killing a few Jews to get this message across, Hamas wouldn’t mind.”
“By killing people, especially Israelis, Hamas is showing the people that they are the masters of the place,” Dr. Kedar added. “This is why many Palestinians want Israel to remain in charge, what is inaccurately referred to as the ‘occupier’,” Dr. Kedar said. “The Palestinians do not trust the PA to stay in power and stop Hamas from taking over as the terrorist leaders of Judea and Samaria. The ‘occupation’ is the insurance policy that Judea and Samaria will not become like Gaza because, honestly, who in their right mind wants to live in Gaza under Hamas rule?”
“Hamas: dedicated to murdering all the Jews
Hamas has openly and explicitly dedicated itself to the total annihilation of Israel, as evidenced by its charter which makes the following statements:
- “The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” (Article 6)
- “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (Preamble)
- “The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.” (Article 11)
- “Palestine is an Islamic land… Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Muslim wherever he may be.” (Article 13)
- “[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” (Article 13)
Hamas is also dedicated to the genocidal destruction of the Jewish people which is also included in its charter:
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.” (Article 7)
“The enemies have been scheming for a long time … and have accumulated huge and influential material wealth. With their money, they took control of the world media… With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the globe… They stood behind the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution and most of the revolutions we hear about… With their money they formed secret organizations – such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and the Lions – which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests… They stood behind World War I … and formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains… There is no war going on anywhere without them having their finger in it.” (Article 22)
“Zionism scheming has no end, and after Palestine, they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates River. When they have finished digesting the area on which they have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion. Their scheme has been laid out in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.” (Article 32)
“The Hamas regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism… Islamic groups all over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best equipped for their future role in the fight against the warmongering Jews.” (Article 32)
Hamas, a Sunni Muslim organization, is designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, and the United States. Australia, New Zealand, Paraguay, and the United Kingdom have designated only its military wing as a terrorist organization. It is not considered a terrorist organization by Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Syria, and Turkey. In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly rejected a U.S. resolution condemning Hamas as a terrorist organization.