(By Julie Stahl, CNSNews.com) Jerusalem – “The era of justice and Islamic rule have arrived” in Gaza, a spokesman for the Hamas militia was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Press reports said Hamas fighters — Islamic radicals — are winning their battle with the Fatah faction, which is loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas fighters, who are said to be better armed and trained, want an Islamic Palestinian state in all of Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. They stormed one of Fatah’s key security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, reportedly dragging Fatah gunmen from the building and executing them one by one in the street.

Broadcasting from inside the P.A.’s Preventive Security Services headquarters in Gaza City, Hamas television displayed weapons it said were smuggled into Gaza by Israel and the U.S. over the last months to aid Fatah.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, hailed “Gaza’s second liberation” — the first one being Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Another Hamas leader, Nezar Rayyan, told Hamas radio, “This is a battle between Muslims and non-believers, and God-willing, we will lead the Friday prayer in [Abbas’] office, and transform the [Fatah-controlled] security complex into a big mosque,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying.

Former P.A. Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said that Hamas participated in elections, only as a first step to gaining power. Now the group is using all possible means to consolidate its grip on Gaza.

“They don’t believe in the democratic process where you can change the government every four years,” Abed Rabbo said at a conference of peace activists taking place in Italy. “They believe that it’s a divine mission and it is granted to them and they should seize the opportunity.”

The American Jewish Committee said it is very concerned about the escalating Palestinian violence.

“The chief victims of this tragedy are the Palestinian people themselves, and the chances for a durable peace with Israel,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.

Order will be restored, only with the rise of “responsible and decisive Palestinian leadership,” and with the “active assistance of Arab nations” that have previously supported and even celebrated the radical elements that are now killing each other, the AJC said.

The group also noted that the results of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip have been “dismal.”

Hamas, which came to power through elections in January 2006, rejects Israel’s right to exist as well as all existing Israeli-Palestinian accords. There is now growing concern that the fighting could spread to the West Bank, which is much closer to the bulk of Israel’s population.

Reserve Maj.-Gen. Jacob Amidror, a former Israeli army intelligence officer, said the crisis in the Gaza Strip is a direct result of Israel’s “two-staged retreat” from the Gaza Strip.

In 1994, as a result of the Oslo Accords, Israel transferred internal control of Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority; and then in 2005, Israel uprooted 21 Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip in a unilateral “disengagement.”

When the Palestinians are given the freedom to choose, they make war against the Jews and against themselves instead of building a state, Amidror said.

Broader picture

The Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs said that Hamas is determined to take over the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with the end goal of destroying Israel. And while that’s significant, JINSA said, there are lessons that go beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas, Hizballah, al Qaeda, the Taliban, Ansar al-Islam and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are among the non-state organizations that seek to acquire territory as a means of spreading their broader agenda. They derive support from states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Members of such terror groups should not be allowed to run for elective office because it won’t make them responsible, JINSA said in a statement.

Don’t offer terrorists coalition status because they want everything, JINSA said; don’t praise them for social service work because they are training the children to be future bombers; believe them when they say they have an agenda and they’ll die and kill you for it, the group said.

“They aren’t engaged in retaliation for the real or perceived sins of Israel, the U.S. or the West; they are motivated by their very real belief in their supremacy and their right to rule.”

Cut off financial and military support, punish their state sponsors and be ready “to kill as many of them as necessary to accomplish this goal,” the group said.

“Gaza is ruined because the moderate, serious, capable people fled or were killed, leaving the playing field to the destitute and dastardly. Gaza is over,” JINSA said. “If we are supremely skillful and very lucky, there may still be time to save the West Bank…but it is running out quickly.”

All original CNSNews.com material, copyright 1998-2007 Cybercast News Service. Reprinted here with permission from CNSNews. Visit the website at CNSNews.com.


IMPORTANT:  Before answering questions, read the information below and visit the links to gain a better understanding of this issue.

1.  Rival Palestinian groups that share power in the Palestinian Authority are fighting each other.  What do Hamas fighters expect to achieve?

2.  How does Hamas regard Israel?

3.  Re-read the following:
–statements made by Hamas members in paragraph 1, 5-6
–actions taken by Hamas in para. 3.
–statements made about Hamas by a former Palestinian Authority Minister in para. 7-8
Some experts predict that Hamas will win control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah will control the West Bank.  Do you think this will be good for the Palestinian people?  Explain your answer.

4.  Former Israeli army officer Gen. Amidror was quoted in para. 15 as saying: “When the Palestinians are given the freedom to choose, they make war against the Jews and against themselves instead of building a state.”  Do you agree with Gen. Amidror’s assertion?  Explain your answer.

5.  Re-read para. 19-22.  What do you think about JINSA’s recommendations?


The Palestinian Authority is currently ruled by two parties, Fatah and Hamas. Hamas holds the majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament and the office of Prime Minister.  Fatah holds a minority of seats in the Parliament, and the office of President.

Fatah ruled the Palestinian Authority from its establishment in 1994 until 2006. [Yasser Arafat was the head of Fatah until his death in 2004.]  Fatah is a major secular Palestinian political party…. In Palestinian politics it is on the center-left of the spectrum. ….. [Since its loss in 2006 as the ruling party] it has … been described oftentimes in the media as the more “moderate” party, although many dispute this due to its past actions and current policies. (from Wikipedia.org)

Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist terrorist organization that currently (since January 2006) forms the majority party of the Palestinian Authority…. Hamas is known outside the Palestinian territories for its suicide bombings and other attacks directed against Israeli civilians, as well as military and security forces targets. Hamas’ charter…calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. ………….. In January 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections….  Many [Palestinians] perceived the preceding Fatah government as corrupt and ineffective…  Since Hamas has taken control, the Palestinian territories have experienced a period of sharp internal conflicts, known as Fauda (anarchy), in which many Palestinians have been killed in internecine fighting. (from Wikipedia.org)

NOTE: Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia.  Anyone can submit information on any topic.  Some of the material on Wikipedia has been known to be inaccurate or biased.  It is our judgement that the excerpts from wikipedia.org posted above on Fatah and Hamas are accurate.


Click here for a map of Israel (including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.)

For information on Hamas, visit the Council on Foreign Relations website at cfr.org/publication/8968/hamas.html

For photos of the fighting between Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas, go to msnbc.com

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