Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal instructed the terror group's sleeper cells in the West Bank to prepare themselves for armed struggle to take control of the Palestinian territory, The Sunday Times reported.
According to the report, citing the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Aman military intelligence service, Hamas, at the behest of Iran, was preparing to seize power in the West Bank as it did in Gaza in a 2007 civil war.
The Sunday Times also alleged that relations between Hamas and Iran were on the upswing after a brief cooling off period...as Assad’s position has weakened, Iran has hedged somewhat by re-pivoting towards Hamas in order to protect its interests were Assad to fall.
The Sunday Times said that Iran's motivation was to create a third proxy force in the West Bank - after Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza - through which to retaliate to any potential Israeli attack on Tehran's nuclear program.
The paper concluded by quoting senior Fatah member and former head of Palestinian general intelligence General Tawfik Tirawi as saying that "Hamas wants intifada [uprising]" and "will take over the West Bank.”
Senior officials in Jerusalem reportedly believe a Gaza-style takeover of the West Bank by Hamas may be in the offing, citing intelligence estimates that show the Iran-backed terror group making a move for control of the Palestinian-ruled territory.
Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet security service both have information that Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal has ordered his supporters to prepare for a battle for control of the West Bank, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
The move is feared by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party, which has seen its popularity on the Arab street wane in the face of the more hard-line Hamas movement.
“We’re on the verge of catastrophe,” Tawfik Tirawi, a senior Fatah member, told the paper. ”Hamas wants intifada and now only a spark is needed to light the inferno. Hamas will take over the West Bank.”
Jerusalem fears that a Hamas takeover of the West Bank would give Iran, which is allied with the group, a foothold on the border of Israel’s heartland, the report said. Reportedly, Iran is the driving force behind Hamas’s push to control the West Bank.
A source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the paper that the prime minister is maneuvering to halt Iran and Hamas from gaining dominion of the territory.
“[Netanyahu] understands the geopolitical changes in the Middle East. No way would [he] give up an inch of the West Bank — he is convinced that the intelligence assessment about a [Hamas] takeover is solid,” the source said.
In 2007, Hamas broke with its rival Fatah, taking over the Gaza Strip by force and pushing out the armed wing of the secular Palestinian movement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel was carefully watching developments in Syria, and especially the regime’s sizable stockpile of chemical weapons, which Israeli officials are afraid could be turned against the Jewish state.
“We’re taking steps in order to prepare for the far-reaching changes that are commencing there,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, alluding to recent assessments that President Bashar Assad’s days in power were numbered.
“There are dramatic developments in Syria on an almost daily basis,” he said. “We’re working in cooperation with the United States, and, together with the international community, we’re taking the necessary steps to prepare ourselves for the possibility of changes with a bearing on the sensitive weapons systems in Assad’s hands.”
Israel is particularly concerned that Syrian chemical and biological weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used against Israel.
“Together with the international community, we are closely monitoring developments in Syria regarding its stores of chemical weapons…. Such weapons must not be used and must not reach terrorist elements,” Netanyahu said last Tuesday at a forum in Jerusalem.
Gods Word is astounding and so True! Whether Fatah or Hamas, the West Bank is going down in Isaiah 17. We have Damascus in Verse 1, then Jordan in Verse 2. Ancient Ephraim Verse 3, is located in what now is called the "West Bank".
3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.
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