As Fatah party contenders who hope to succeed Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly arm themselves ahead of a looming power struggle, Fatah’s arch rival, Hamas, is making its own preparations to dominate the West Bank.
The fundamentalist Islamist movement has already established a de facto state and terrorist army in the Gaza Strip, where it works day and night to spread terrorism and instability to the Fatah-ruled West Bank.
Hamas’s Gaza leaders, joined by their colleagues in Lebanon and Turkey, seek to duplicate their 2007 success seizing power from Fatah in Gaza. Any upcoming power vacuum in the Palestinian Authority could create an opportunity for Hamas to strengthen its own radical influence.
In recent years, Hamas has worked diligently and consistently to create armed cells, as well as political, social, and economic networks in the West Bank. It has worked tirelessly to create terrorist financing channels, and to spread its indoctrination through a variety of media. Hamas keeps West Bank operatives in ‘sleeper mode,’ attempting to keep them off the radar of Israel’s intelligence services, and on the Hamas payroll, so that it can activate them when it sees an opportunity to act.