TEL AVIV — A leading Israeli
consultant said the Hamas regime would accelerate efforts to undermine
the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
A report by Jonathan Fighel said
Hamas would not abandon its quest for control of the Palestinian
community and government despite threats from Israel and the United
"I think the situation of Hamas
control in Gaza is irreversible," Fighel, a consultant to the Israeli
military and the U.S. Justice Department, said.
"From my reading of Hamas
publications in Arabic, it is clear that there is no way back, only
ahead, to take control in the West Bank if they become strong enough."
In a recent briefing, Fighel
said Hamas would not end efforts to destroy Israel. He dismissed the
prospect of any genuine Hamas ceasefire with Israel.
"Hamas could agree to a hudna
[calm] for 50 years, but there will be no recognition of Israel or a
cessation of the struggle against it," Fighel told the Jerusalem Center
for Public Affairs. "If Hamas was ready to act pragmatically, it would
no longer be Hamas."
Fighel said any Hamas decision
to recognize Israel would split the Islamic movement. He said Hamas
dissidents would then form Al Qaida-aligned groups in the Gaza Strip,
already a rising force in the region.
"There is no political wing of
Hamas disconnected from the operational wing," Fighel said. "There are
no pragmatists to speak to. At the end of the day, those who believe
that trying to talk to Hamas is the right way to conduct business here
in the Middle East will be in for a big disappointment."
Fighel said Al Qaida philosophy,
which he termed "global Islam," has penetrated the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip. The new groups have been inspired by Saudi Wahabi ideology,
which calls for Islamic war throughout the world.
"The bottom line is that we are
seeing the same pattern of global jihad-oriented groups starting to be
active in Gaza," Fighel said. "They have carried out some attacks,
mostly directed against foreign, Western institutions like the YMCA and
the American School. Yet they have played only a marginal role in
attacks against Israeli targets."