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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Internal PA Violence Poses Dangers for Israel

I've been making a lot of cracks lately about 'Palestinian Civil War Watches.' While I would love to watch all the terrorists kill each other, it may not be so simple. Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Shalom Harari, now a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya who predicted many of the after-effects of the Disengagement from Gaza, says in this interview with Arutz Sheva that the 'Palestinian Civil War poses dangers for Israel:

"This type of violence is nothing new," Harari said. "The current situation of fauda, or chaos, must be analyzed as a product of three elements: One is falapan, the loss of security control, and the second is fitma, hatred of brothers and civil war, and third is fasad, corruption. These elements have created an explosive situation, with many instances of shooting at and by police, etc. There are also some 15 different factions in the Palestinian Authority street..."


"The situation cannot yet be described as a civil war," Harari said, "but the potential has grown, and we now have two formal blocs standing off against each other; the government is two-headed, they both have weapons - 40,000 or more armed men in Fatah, and 20,000 from Hamas - and the situation can blow up."

Asked if this situation can lead to war against Israel, Harari said, "In the short and medium range, i.e., 6-12 months, Hamas is not looking for war with us, but would rather use this time to get things in order, and to tighten its hold in the PA. It was Fatah that started the shooting yesterday, and it was not in Hamas' interest."

"On the other hand," [Arutz Sheva interviewer Ariel CiJ] Kahane asked, "Hamas did appoint Samadaneh, the terrorist who is #2 on Israel's wanted list. And neither does Hamas appear to be making any moves towards recognition of Israel and the like."

Harari responded, "First of all, Israelis are under a false perception that Samadaneh is in charge of the entire PA security force - when in fact he is merely to be in charge of the police. His job is - get this - to protect the police from attacks by PA citizens. That's the main purpose of the appointment, but at the same time they [Hamas] don't mind using it to anger Fatah and the U.S. This appointment is a red flag for the United States, because the U.S. accuses him of the attack in which three American guards were killed in Gaza a few years ago. This is why the U.S. responded so angrily."

In a paper he co-wrote last year, Harari predicted that after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, the PA leadership would fail the test of running the Gaza Strip effectively and responsibly. He also said that the Palestinian terrorists' major focus would be to attack Jewish settlements and access roads in Judea and Samaria.

Harari feels that the internal situation in the Hamas Authority will become more explosive. "It could be dangerous for Israel," he said, "in that when they finally want to end it, one side is likely to do it by attacking their common enemy, Israel. In addition, they are using this period to develop their arms and fighting capabilities."


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