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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 States.

"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."



Gaza Hamas leader keynote speaker at Iran's anti-Israel conference


DEBKAfile Special Report

  Hamas' Mahmoud a-Zahar


March 3/09. DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources that Gaza's Hamas strongman Mahmoud A-Zahar was given an Israeli safe passage to travel from Gaza to Cairo in mid-February.

He made straight for Damascus and Tuesday, March 3, was flown to Tehran to deliver the keynote speech at a conference called by the Islamic Republic as a counterweight to the international donors' conference sponsored by the US and Egypt this week.

The Iranians claimed that representatives of 80 countries arrived, including at least 20 parliamentary speakers from Arab and Islamic nations. Present too are Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad delegations and the head of the Palestinian national assembly.

DEBKAfile notes that Barak gave the A-Zahar a special dispensation to travel from Gaza Saturday, Feb. 14 after Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman persuaded his envoy Amos Gilead that A-Zahar would be willing to sign onto a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip.

He assured Israel that hardline Khaled Meshaal's deputy, Mussa Abu Marzuk, would add his signature to the document and the process would bring forward the release of the captive Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit against the wishes of Meshaal and his backers in Tehran.

Instead of working to that end, A-Zahar has used his freedom to crisscross the Middle East, repeatedly visiting Damascus and Qatar and looking after Hamas' logistical and financial concerns and the replenishment of its arsenal.





 March 4/09. Leading a concentrated outpouring of venomous hate, Iran's supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that President Barack Obama is pursuing the same "wrong path" as his predecessor George W. Bush in supporting Israel – "a cancerous tumour" - and he saw no change.

This was Tehran's response to the moderate language coming from the new US president and Obama's willingness to engage in diplomacy to resolve the impasse over its nuclear program.

Addressing a conference in Tehran on the Palestinians, he said: "Another big mistake is to say that the only way to save the Palestinian nation is by negotiations." Negotiations with whom?" he asked. "With an occupying and bullying regime...? or negotiations with America and Britain who committed the biggest sin in creating and support this cancerous tumour…?



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