US embassy cable - 88JERUSALEM3168

FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE INTIFADA: DEFINING THE ISSUES

Identifier: 88JERUSALEM3168
Wikileaks: View 88JERUSALEM3168 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Jerusalem
Created: 1988-09-23 14:35:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PINR PNAT PTER KPAL IS JO EG
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 231435Z SEP 88
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3548
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 JERUSALEM 03168 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PINR, PNAT, PTER, KPAL, IS, JO, EG 
SUBJECT:  FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE INTIFADA: 
DEFINING THE ISSUES 
 
REFS:  A) STATE 303639, B) JERUSALEM 3004 
 
1.  S - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY 
------------------------ 
 
2.  ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM IS POSING AN 
INCREASING CHALLENGE TO SECULAR NATIONALIST 
PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS ON THE WEST BANK. 
RECENT WEEKS HAVE SEEN DIRECT CHALLENGES BY THE 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD-CREATED GROUP "HAMAS" TO THE 
PLO/UNIFIED NATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF THE UPRISING 
(UNLU) WHICH CURRENTLY LEADS THE UPRISING.  THIS 
CHALLENGE, WHICH HAS MET WITH MIXED SUCCESS, HAS 
TAKEN THE FORM OF LEAFLETS CRITICAL OF UNLU AND 
THE PLO, ATTEMPTS TO IMPOSE ALTERNATIVE STRIKE 
DAYS, AND EVEN CLASHES IN CERTAIN LOCALITIES. 
THUS FAR, HAMAS HAS DEMONSTRATED STRENGTH IN 
THOSE AREAS WHERE EXISTING ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS 
HAVE WIDESPREAD POPULAR SUPPORT:  NABLUS AND THE 
NORTHERN WEST BANK, WHERE IT SEEMS TO BE BEST 
ORGANIZED; THE RAMALLAH-EL BIREH AREA; AND 
HEBRON.  ITS ATTEMPTS TO MAKE INROADS INTO THE 
CHRISTIAN ENCLAVE OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT 
SAHOUR HAVE BEEN RESISTED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS. 
HAMAS REMAINS WEAK IN COSMOPOLITAN EAST 
JERUSALEM.  WHATEVER THE CURRENT ACTUAL STRENGTH 
OF HAMAS--AND ESTIMATES VARY WIDELY--IT HAS 
SUCCEEDED IN BECOMING A FACTOR TO BE RECKONED 
WITH IN CONSIDERING THE FUTURE OF THE INTIFADA 
ON THE WEST BANK. 
 
3.  HAMAS IS NOT THE ONLY MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALIST 
GROUP FUNCTIONING ON THE WEST BANK.  THE FATAH- 
AFFILIATED "ISLAMIC JIHAD"--NOT TO BE CONFUSED 
WITH THE SHIITE GROUP OF THE SAME NAME FOUND IN 
LEBANON AND ELSEWHERE--WAS CRIPPLED BY THE 
KILLING OF THREE SENIOR LEADERS IN CYPRUS.  IT 
HAS NOT RECOVERED TO ESTABLISH ITSELF AS AN 
INDEPENDENT PLAYER IN THE STRUGGLE FOR THE 
HEARTS AND MINDS OF WEST BANK PALESTINIANS. 
OTHER SMALL, SHADOWY GROUPS ALSO RISE AND FALL, 
CREATING LITTLE MORE THAN A RIPPLE. 
 
4.  THIS REPORT IS ONLY A PRELIMINARY ATTEMPT TO 
IDENTIFY QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY.  ISLAMIC 
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUPS ARE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO 
PENETRATE; UNDERSTANDING THEIR INTERNAL 
STRUCTURES AND EXTERNAL GOALS WILL TAKE MUCH 
TIME AND PATIENCE.  THIS IS A FIRST PASS AT THE 
SUBJECT ON THE WEST BANK, BASED TO A LARGE 
EXTENT ON CONTACTS FROM JERUSALEM AND THE 
NORTHERN WEST BANK CITY OF NABLUS.  WE HAVE LESS 
COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THE SITUATION IN THE 
SOUTHERN WEST BANK.  GAZA HAS ITS OWN PATTERN OF 
ISLAMIC POLITICS.  WE WOULD WELCOME INFORMATION 
FROM CAIRO AND AMMAN ON EGYPTIAN AND JORDANIAN 
ISLAMIC POLITICAL TIES WITH THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES.  END SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION. 
 
HAMAS--BACKGROUND AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 
----------------------------------------- 
 
5.  HAMAS IS A CREATION OF THE MUSLIM 
BROTHERHOOD (MB), WITH TIES TO THE MB THROUGHOUT 
THE ISLAMIC WORLD.  THE NAME "HAMAS" WAS 
APPARENTLY CHOSEN IN FEBRUARY 1988, BUT NOT USED 
EXTENSIVELY UNTIL MAY.  AN ACRONYM FOR "ISLAMIC 
RESISTANCE MOVEMENT," THE WORD ITSELF IS ARABIC 
FOR "ZEALOTS." 
 
6.  ALTHOUGH PALESTINIANS IN CERTAIN PARTS OF 
THE WEST BANK HAVE STRONG ISLAMIC CONVICTIONS, 
THEY TEND TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES POLITICALLY IN 
SECULAR TERMS.  ISLAM HAS, HOWEVER, PLAYED A 
ROLE IN WEST BANK POLITICS SINCE THE LATE 1940S, 
WHEN THE MB FIRST CAME TO THE WEST BANK.  THE MB 
WAS SHORTLY AFTER DISCREDITED IN THE EYES OF 
PALESTINIANS BY ITS SUPPORT FOR KING HUSSEIN IN 
HIS POWER STRUGGLE AGAINST PM NABULSI IN THE 
MID-50S.  DURING JORDANIAN RULE, IT WAS TIGHTLY 
MONITORED BY JORDANIAN INTELLIGENCE AND DID NOT 
GAIN SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE UNTIL THE MID- TO 
LATE-70S, PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK. 
 
7.  IN 1976, M0 SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AND BURNED A 
NABLUS THEATER SHOWING AN "IMMODEST" PLAY.  THIS 
IS OFTEN CONSIDERED THE BEGINNING OF THE MB'S 
EMERGENCE AS A VIABLE POLITICAL FORCE IN THE 
NORTHERN WEST BANK.  ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS 
BUILT A POWER BASE IN AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY, WHERE 
THEY GAINED CONTROL OF THE STUDENT COUNCIL IN 
1978.  THIS SURGE IN POPULARITY WAS PROBABLY DUE 
TO A NUMBER OF FACTORS:  1) THE RISE OF 
KHOMEINISM IN IRAN, WHICH GAVE FUNDAMENTALISM A 
BOOST THROUGHOUT THE MUSLIM WORLD; 2) THE 
DISCREDITING OF TRADITIONAL ARAB LEADERS IN THE 
WAKE OF SADAT'S TRIP TO JERUSALEM; 3) A LARGE 
INFLOW OF MONEY FROM THE MB IN JORDAN AND EGYPT; 
AND 4) THE DENIAL BY FUNDAMENTALISTS THAT THEY 
BELONGED TO THE FORMERLY DISCREDITED MB-- 
INSTEAD, THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE "INDEPENDENT 
ISLAMIC BLOC." 
 
8.  SUPPORT FOR THE FUNDAMENTALISTS AT AN-NAJAH, 
AS ELSEWHERE IN THE WEST BANK, HAS EBBED AND 
FLOWED ACCORDING TO THE PLO'S FORTUNES AND THE 
STATUS OF FUNDAMENTALISM IN THE MUSLIM WORLD. 
SECULAR LEADERS IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK, AIDED 
BY PLO MONEY, WORKED TO CONTAIN THE 
FUNDAMENTALISTS AND REDUCE THEIR INFLUENCE IN 
AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY.  THE FUNDAMENTALISTS LOST 
CREDIBILITY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN THE PLO BORE THE 
BRUNT OF THE FIGHTING DU8ING THE 1982 INVASION 
OF LEBANON AND DURING THE PERIOD OF ARAFAT- 
HUSSEIN RECONCILIATION.  THEY HAVE GAINED 
STRENGTH WHEN THE PLO APPEARED WEAK AND DIVIDED. 
 
9.  BY THE END OF 1987, FUNDAMENTALISTS AND 
NATIONALISTS IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK HAD 
ACHIEVED AN UNEASY STATUS QUO MARKED BY 
OCCASIONAL VIOLENT CLASHES.  IN NABLUS THE 
FUNDAMENTALISTS TENDED TO BE RESENTED BY THE 
SECULAR COMMUNITY, BUT ALSOFEARED. 
 
10.  WHEN THE INTIFADA BEGAN, THE MB ACTED 
DECISIVELY TO SEIZE A ROLE.  SEVERAL FACTORS 
CONTRIBUTED TO THE MB DECISION TO INVOLVE ITSELF 
FOR SEVERAL REASONS.  ISLAMIC JIHAD HAD WON 
CONSIDERABLE PRESTIGE FOR ITS ROLE IN GAZA, AND 
THE MB FEARED LOSING SUPPORT AND CREDIBILITY IN 
THE FUNDAMENTALIST COMMUNITY.  INDIVIDUAL MB 
MEMBERS WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INTIFADA; 
THE MB LEADERSHIP FEARED THAT IF MEMBERS COULD 
NOT USE THE MB AS A VEHICLE FOR PARTICIPATION, 
THEY WOULD TURN TO OTHER FUNDAMENTALIST OR 
NATIONALIST ORGANIZATIONS.  MB LEADERS BELIEVED, 
THEN AS NOW, THAT THE INTIFADA WILL BE CARRIED 
TO A CONCLUSION.  THEY WANTED A SAY IN THAT 
FINAL SETTLEMENT.  FINALLY, THE MB HAD A 
READY-MADE ORGANIZATION PRESENT IN THE WEST 
BANK.  ACCORDINGLY, THE MB CREATED HAMAS IN 
FEBRUARY 1988 AND BEGAN ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE 
UPRISING. 
 
HAMAS--STRUCTURE 
---------------- 
 
11.  THE MB HAS ITS HEADQUARTERS IN CAIRO, WITH 
A BRANCH IN AMMAN.  SUB-BRANCHES ARE PRESENT IN 
THE WEST BANK (NABLUS) AND GAZA.  THE HEAD OF 
THE MB IN THE WEST BANK REPORTEDLY IS NABIL 
BUSHTAWI, OF NABLUS.  OTHER KEY WEST-BANK 
FIGURES FROM NABLUS ARE SHEIKH SAID BILAL AND 
HAMID BITAWI. 
 
12.  THE RELATION BETWEEN CAIRO, AMMAN, THE WEST 
BANK, AND GAZA REMAINS UNCLEAR, AS IS THE 
RELATION BETWEEN THE NABLUS LEADERSHIP AND OTHER 
AREAS OF THE WEST BANK.  THERE ARE STRONG LINKS 
WITH CAIRO AND AMMAN, AND SOME MB LEADERS MAY 
HOLD POSITIONS IN JORDANIAN INTELLIGENCE. 
APPARENTLY, KY DECISIONS ARE MADE IN CAIRO AND 
AMMAN, BUT LOCAL UNITS RETAIN CONSIDERABLE 
INDEPENDENCE OF ACTION.  MONEY FLOWS IN FROM 
CAIRO AND AMMAN, AS WELL AS BEING RAISED LOCALLY 
THROUGH THE MOSQUES. 
 
13.  THE MB IN NABLUS REPORTEDLY CONSISTS OF 
APPROXIMATELY 150 MEMBERS HEADED BY A 4 OR 5 MAN 
COMMITTEE.  THE LEADERSHIP CONSISTS OF MUSLIM 
SHEIKHS, UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS AT AN-NAJAH AND 
BIR ZEIT UNIVERSITIES, INSTRUCTORS AT THE 
KULLIYET AL-DAWA (AN ISLAMIC COLLEGE AFFILIATED 
WITH JERUSALEM UNIVERSITY, LOCATED IN BEIT 
HANINA, NORTH JERUSALEM), EMPLOYEES OF THE 
ISLAMIC WAQF, A SHARIA JUDGE, AND VARIOUS 
MERCHANTS.  THE "FOOT SOLDIERS" OF HAMAS/MB IN 
NABLUS CONSIST OF DISADVANTAGED YOUTHS FROM THE 
POORER SECTIONS OF THE OLD TOWN (CASBAH).  THIS 
NETWORK SEEMS TO BE STABLE--FEW ARRESTS, FEW 
DEFECTIONS, FEW NEW CONVERTS. 
 
14.  THE LEADERSHIP MAKES USE OF THE MOSQUES TO 
PLAN, PROSELYTIZE, INSTRUCT, AND RAISE MONEY. 
THIS IS A MAJOR ADVANTAGE HAMAS POSSESSES OVER 
THE UNLU, SINCE MANY ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS 
UNIVERSITIES, CHARITIES, AND PROFESSIONAL 
SOCIETIES THROUGH WHICH THE UNLU COULD OPERATE 
HAVE BEEN CLOSED BY ISRAELI AUTHORITIES. 
 
HAMAS--METHOD OF OPERATION 
-------------------------- 
 
15.  ACTIVITIES ARE CARRIED OUT BY TIGHTLY KNIT 
CELLS OF AS FEW AS FIVE MEMBERS.  OUTSIDERS 
RARELY PARTICIPATE IN HAMAS ACTIONS, A 
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE FROM INTIFADA ACTIVITIES 
IN GENERAL, WHICH DERIVE CONSIDERABLE STRENGTH 
FROM THE SPONTANEOUS PARTICIPATION OF LARGE 
NUMBERS OF PALESTINIANS.  HAMAS ALSO SEEKS 
MAXIMUM PUBLICITY FOR ITS ACTS.  BEFORE A 
STRIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, RED SPRAY-PAINTED 
INSTRUCTIONS--BOLDLY SIGNED "HAMAS"--ARE IN 
EVIDENCE THROUGHOUT AREAS OF HAMAS INFLUENCE. 
AS A RESULT OF ITS PENCHANT FOR TIGHT CONTROL 
AND PUBLICITY, HAMAS TENDS NOT TO COOPERATE IN 
UNLU-ORGANIZED ACTIONS.  IN NABLUS, FOR EXAMPLE, 
HAMAS HAS REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN IMPROMPTU 
BLOOD DRIVES ORGANIZED ON SHORT NOTICE BY 
POPULAR COMMITTEES TO TREAT WOUNDED PALESTINIANS. 
 
16.  HAMAS USES DIFFERENT METHODS TO ENFORCE ITS 
STRIKE CALLS, DEPENDING ON ITS STRENGTH IN THE 
TOWN INVOLVED.  IN RAMALLAH AND THE BEIT HANINA 
NEIGHBORHOOD OF NORTH JERUSALEM, FOR EXAMPLE, 
HAMAS FOLLOWERS REPORTEDLY WERE ON THE SCENE TO 
ENFORCE THE SEPTEMBER 9 STRIKE.  ALTHOUGH NO 
CLASHES WERE REPORTED IN THESE AREAS, THERE HAVE 
BEEN CONFRONTATIONS WITH UNLU SUPPORTERS ON 
PRIOR OCCASIONS.  NO CLASHES WERE REPORTED IN 
NABLUS, APPARENTLY BECAUSE THE UNLU CHOSE NOT TO 
TEST HAMAS' STRENGTH.  IN THE PAST, HOWEVER, 
HAMAS HAS FIREBOMBED CHRISTIAN SHOPS THAT SOLD 
LIQUOR OR OTHERWISE DEFIED ITS ORDERS.  IN 
BETHLEHEM, TIRES WERE BURNED AND THERE WERE 
CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN HAMAS AND UNLU SUPPORTERS 
ON THE OCCASION OF THE SEPTEMBER 9 STRIKE.  SOME 
SHOPS WERE INTIMIDATED INTO CLOSING EARLY. 
HOWEVER, MOST STAYED OPEN.  IN JERUSALEM, HAMAS 
WAS NOT IN EVIDENCE, AND THE STIKE CALL WAS 
LARGELY IGNORED. 
 
HAMAS--RELATIVE REGIONAL STRENGTH 
--------------------------------- 
17.  HAMAS APPEARS TO BE STRONGEST IN GAZA.  IN 
THE WEST BANK, IT SEEMS TO BE BASED IN THE 
TOWNS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHERE THE INHABITANTS 
ARE RELATIVELY HOMOGENEOUS AND HAVE A RELIGIOUS 
BENT. ITS PRIMARY WEST BANK STRONGHOLDS, IN 
DESCENDING ORDER OF INFLUENCE, APPEAR TO BE 
NABLUS, RAMALLAH, AND HEBRON.  HAMAS IS PRESENT 
IN JERUSALEM, PARTICULARLY THE BEIT HANINA 
NEIGHBORHOOD IN NORTH JERUSALEM NEAR RAMALLAH. 
IN DOWNTOWN EAST JERUSALEM AND THE OLD CITY, 
HAMAS IS PRESENT BUT WEAK, PROBABLY BECAUSE OF 
THE COSMOPOLITAN CHARACTER OF THESE AREAS. 
HAMAS IS TRYING TO INCREASE ITS FOOTHOLD IN THE 
CHRISTIAN AREA OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT 
SAHOUR, THOUGH THUS FAR ITS INTIMIDATION TACTICS 
HAVE NOT PROVED SUCCESSFUL.  (IN FACT, HAMAS 
ACTIONS IN THESE CHRISTIAN AREAS HAVE LED TO THE 
REAPPEARANCE OF HAMAM, THE "CHRISTIAN" 
RESISTANCE MOVEMENT, WHOSE ACRONYM FORMS THE 
ARABIC WORD FOR "DOVE.")  WE DO NOT YET HAVE A 
GOOD FEEL FOR HAMAS IN HEBRON, THOUGH WE KNOW IT 
HAS BEEN ACTIVE.  THE AUGUST 21 AND SEPTEMBER 9 
STRIKE CALLS WERE OBSERVED THERE.  IN ADDITION, 
ITS INHABITANTS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE STRONG 
RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS.  IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HERE 
AS ELSEWHERE MUCH OF HAMAS' STRENGTH DERIVES 
FROM THE POPULATION'S TRADITIONAL SUPPORT FOR 
ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS, RATHER THAN FROM A 
CONSCIOUS DECISION TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HAMAS AND 
THE PLO. 
 
18.  HAMAS IS THOUGHT TO BE WEAK IN THE 
COUNTRYSIDE, WHERE THE MB HAS TRADITIONALLY 
LACKED INFLUENCE AND ORGANIZATION, AND IN THE 
REFUGEE CAMPS, WHERE SECULAR NATIONALIST 
MOVEMENTS (FATAH, PFLP, COMMUNISTS, ETC.) REMAIN 
FIRMLY ENTRENCHED.  AN INTERESTING EXCEPTION IS 
NEW ASKAR CAMP WHERE, BECAUSE OF THE ARREST OF 
ALMOST THE ENTIRE FATAH LEADERSHIP, HAMAS HAS 
BEEN ABLE TO MOVE IN AND ORGANIZE. 
 
19.  IT IS DIFFICULT ACCURATELY TO GAUGE HAMAS' 
STRENGTH FROM THE SUCCESS OF ITS STRIKE CALLS. 
HAMAS HAS CHOSEN ITS DAYS WISELY--AUGUST 21 WAS 
THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTEMPT TO BURN THE 
AL-AQSA MOSQUE, A TRADITIONAL DAY OF PROTEST, 
AND SEPTEMBER 9 WAS BOTH A FRIDAY, WHEN MANY 
SHOPS ARE CLOSED ANYWAY, AND THE BEGINNING OF A 
NEW MONTH OF THE INTIFADA, AGAIN A TRADITIONAL 
DAY OF PROTEST.  THUS, HAMAS WAS CALLING FOR 
STRIKES ON DAYS THAT PEOPLE CUSTOMARILY MARK 
WITH STRIKES AND PROTESTS AND DID NOT ACT 
AGAINST THE FLOW OF THE INTIFADA. 
 
 
HAMAS--RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL 
------------------------------- 
20.  MANY WEST BANKERS BELIEVE THAT ISRAEL 
ACTIVELY SUPPORTS HAMAS IN AN EFFORT TO DIVIDE 
PALESTINIANS AND WEAKEN THE INTIFADA.  THEY 
POINT TO THE FACT THAT HAMAS OPERATIVES ACT 
BOLDLY IN DISTRIBUTING THEIR LEAFLETS. 
SHOPKEEPERS IN JERUSALEM AND NABLUS REPORT THAT, 
WHEREAS UNLU LEAFLETS ARE DISTRIBUTED SECRETLY 
FOR FEAR OF ISRAELI SECURITY FORCES, HAMAS 
OPERATIVES WALK INTO SHOPS AND PRESENT THEIR 
LEAFLETS DIRECTLY TO THE OWNERS.  MAYOR FREIJ OF 
BETHLEHEM CLAIMS THAT MEMBERS OF SOME WELL KNOWN 
FAMILIES WHO COLLABORATE WITH ISRAELI OFFICIALS 
HAVE BEEN SEEN AMONG HAMAS STREET GANGS IN 
BETHLEHEM.  FURTHERMORE, DESPITE MASSIVE 
ARRESTS--AND THE PUBLIC IDENTITY OF MANY MB 
LEADERS--RELATIVELY FEW HAMAS LEADERS HAVE BEEN 
DETAINED.  IN RECENT WEEKS, FUNDAMENTALIST 
LEADERS HAVE GIVEN INTERVIEWS TO ISRAELI 
PUBLICATIONS THAT WOULD HAVE LANDED SECULARIST 
LEADERS IN DETENTION.  WE BELIEVE THAT, WHILE 
ISRAELI FORCES MAY BE TURNING A BLIND EYE TO 
HAMAS ACTIVITIES, THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE 
TO CONCLUDE THAT ISRAEL IS PROVIDING ACTIVE 
SUPPORT. 
 
HAMAS--RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INTIFADA LEADERSHIP 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
21.  HAMAS' FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES, AS SET OUT 
IN ITS AUGUST 18 CHARTER (REF B), PUT IT IN 
OPPOSITION TO THE SECULAR LEADERSHIP OF THE 
INTIFADA.  ACCORDING TO THE CHARTER, HAMAS 
CONSIDERS ALL OF PALESTINE AN ISLAMIC "WAQF," OR 
TRUST FROM GOD.  CEDING ANY PART OF IT TO A 
JEWISH STATE WOULD VIOLATE THAT TRUST.  HAMAS 
OPPOSES THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION TOWARD WHICH THE 
PLO SEEMS TO BE INCHING.  IT OPPOSES THE 
CREATION OF A SECULAR STATE IN PALESTINE, AS 
CALLED FOR IN THE PLO COVENANT.  INSTEAD, IT 
DEMANDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ISLAMIC STATE. 
IT ALSO OPPOSES CONVENING AN INTERNATIONAL PEACE 
CONFERENCE.  AS HAMAS LEAFLET NO. 28 SUCCINCTLY 
PHRASED IT, "NEGOTIATION WITH THE ENEMY IS 
RETREAT AND CAPITULATION."  INSTEAD, HAMAS CALLS 
FOR LIBERATING ALL OF PALESTINE THROUGH 
JIHAD--BOTH ARMED STRUGGLE AND PROSELYTIZING. 
 
24.  THIS HAMAS/UNLU COMPETITION HAS LED TO A 
BATTLE OF LEAFLETS AND STRIKE CALLS.  HAMAS 
LEAFLETS EXCORIATE THE PLO--PARTICULARLY FATAH-- 
AND THE UNLU FOR CAPITULATING TO THE ZIONIST 
ENEMY.  UNLU, IN RESPONSE, ACCUSES HAMAS OF 
SERVING ISRAEL BY DIVIDING THE UPRISING.  AT THE 
SAME TIME, UNLU INVITES HAMAS TO JOIN THE 
INTIFADA LEADERSHIP. 
 
25.  HAMAS, TO DATE, HAS REJECTED ALL CALLS FOR 
UNITY WITH UNLU.  ONE EXCUSE OFTEN HEARD IS THAT 
HAMAS WILL NOT SIT ON THE SAME COMMITTEE WITH 
THE COMMUNISTS.  OTHERS SAY IT WILL NOT SIT WITH 
ANY LEFTIST GROUP, SUCH AS THE PFLP.  OTHER 
SOURCES, INCLUDING SOME CLOSE TO THE HAMAS 
LEADERSHIP IN NABLUS, HAVE TOLD US HAMAS HAS 
AGREED IN PRIVATE TO A TWO-STATE SOLUTION AND 
WILL SOON JOIN NOT ONLY THE UNLU BUT THE PLO 
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AS WELL.  ACCORDING TO THESE 
REPORTS, HAMAS IS MAINTAINING ITS PUBLIC STANCE 
IN OPPOSITION TO THE UNLU IN ORDER TO STRENGTHEN 
ITS ORGANIZATION. 
 
24.  UNDOUBTEDLY, THERE ARE CONTACTS AND EVEN 
OCCASIONAL COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS. 
HOWEVER, RECONCILIATION AND/OR UNITY BETWEEN 
THEM SEEMS UNLIKELY AT THIS TIME.  HAMAS APPEARS 
GENUINELY COMMITTED TO THE GOAL OF CREATING AN 
ISLAMIC STATE IN ALL OF PALESTINE.  THIS IS A 
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE WITH THE SECULAR 
NATIONALISTS THAT CANNOT BE PAPERED OVER.  IT IS 
THEREFORE LIKELY THAT THE UNLU AND HAMAS WOULD 
FORGE A PERMANENT ALLIANCE. 
 
25.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAMAS RETAINS ITS FEAR OF 
BEING COOPTED INTO THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT AND 
BECOMING IRRELEVANT.  THIS FEAR WAS ONE OF THE 
MAIN FACTORS SPURRING THE CREATION OF HAMAS.  IT 
IS IMPROBABLE THAT THE MB WOULD SACRIFICE ITS 
CREATION NOW, JUST WHEN IT IS GAINING ACCEPTANCE 
AS A PLAYER.  HOWEVER, SHOULD HAMAS FAIL TO 
MAINTAIN ITS FOOTHOLD AND BECOME THREATENED WITH 
EXTINCTION OR IRRELEVANCE, IT MIGHT AT THAT 
POINT CONSIDER COOPERATING WITH THE SECULARIST 
NATIONALIST LEADERSHIP OF THE UNLU FOR TACTICAL 
REASONS. 
 
HAMAS--PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE 
------------------------------- 
 
26.  GAUGING THE CURRENT STRENGTH OF HAMAS IS A 
RISKY ENDEAVOR.  IN MANY REGIONS OF THE WEST 
BANK, ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS ARE HELD IN HIGH 
REGARD, AND SUPPORT FOR HAMAS APPEARS TO DERIVE 
MUCH OF ITS STRENGTH FROM THAT TRADITIONAL 
RESPECT RATHER THAN FROM A CONSCIOUS CHOICE 
BETWEEN FUNDAMENTALIST AND SECULAR OPTIONS. 
NEVERTHELESS, HAMAS IS BEING TAKEN INCREASINGLY 
SERIOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE WEST BANK.  WHETHER 
THAT IS BECAUSE OF ACTUAL STRENGTH AND 
INFLUENCE, OR MERELY DUE TO INSPIRED 
SELF-PROMOTION, WE CANNOT SAY.  IN ANY CASE, IT 
IS CLEAR THAT THE HAMAS PHENOMENON WILL BE A 
SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN FUTURE CALCULATIONS. 
 
27.  ALTHOUGH ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM WILL REMAIN 
A FEATURE OF THE WEST BANK LANDSCAPE, IMPORTANT 
FACTORS WORK AGAINST IT BECOMING A PERVASIVE 
INFLUENCE OR REPLACING THE SECULARIST STRAIN IN 
WEST BANK POLITICS.  WEST BANKERS AS A WHOLE ARE 
WELL EDUCATED, MUCH TRAVELED, AND CAPITALISTIC 
IN ORIENTATION.  THEY ARE UNLIKELY WILLINGLY TO 
TURN TO THE NARROW ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST WORLD 
VIEW, NO MATTER HOW DEEP THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT 
WITH THE PLO LEADERSHIP. 
 
28.  AS NOTED ABOVE, THE MB HAS HAD ONLY A BRIEF 
AND UNDISTINGUISHED HISTORY IN THE WEST BANK. 
IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT, THE INTIFADA ENJOYS 
VERY WIDESPREAD SUPPORT AMONG WEST BANKERS, WHO 
ARE GENERALLY OPPOSED TO ANY EFFORT TO DISRUPT 
THIS UNITY AND THREATEN THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 
THE UPRISING.  THUS FAR, PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN 
FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE UNLU AND HAMAS, AND 
SUPPORT FOR THE FUNDAMENTALISTS HAS BEEN 
RELATIVELY COST FREE.  IN A SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE 
UNLU AND HAMAS, MUCH OF THAT SUPPORT COULD MELT 
AWAY. 
 
29.  IN ADDITION THE WEST BANK, UNLIKE GAZA, 
CONTAINS AN IMPORTANT CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.  AS 
NOTED ABOVE, HAMAS IS MEETING RESISTANCE IN THE 
CHRISTIAN ENCLAVE OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT 
SAHOUR, EVEN TO THE POINT OF STIMULATING THE 
REACTIVATION OF A RIVAL CHRISTIAN GROUP.  STILL, 
HAMAS HAS EXTENDED ITS INFLUENCE TO THE LARGELY 
CHRISTIAN RAMALLAH-EL BIREH AREA, PROVING THAT 
IT CAN SURVIVE IN A MIXED CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM 
ENVIRONMENT.  THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER OF THESE 
AREAS IS ALSO SLOWLY BEING DILUTED AS CHRISTIANS 
EMIGRATE TO FRIENDLIER CLIMES. 
 
30.  NONETHELESS, DESPITE THE FACTORS WORKING 
AGAINST THE SPREAD OF FUNDAMENTALIST INFLUENCE, 
THERE ARE SITUATIONS IN WHICH FUNDAMENTALIST 
STRENGTH COULD GROW TO THE POINT THAT HAMAS 
WOULD BECOME A SPOILER IN ATTEMPTS TO BRING 
PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS TOGETHER.  ALTHOUGH 
WIDESPREAD DECAPITATION THROUGH ARREST OF THE 
UNLU LEADERSHIP IS NOT LIKELY, GIVEN ITS 
OVERWHELMING POPULAR SUPPORT, ISRAELI EFFORTS TO 
DO SO TEND TO PROMOTE HAMAS IN SPECIFIC AREAS, 
SUCH AS IN THE EXAMPLE OF THE NEW ASKAR CAMP 
GIVEN ABOVE. 
 
31.  WEST BANKERS ARE BOTH RELIGIOUS AND 
NATIONALISTIC.  THUS FAR, THEIR POLITICS HAVE 
FOLLOWED THE NATIONALIST BENT OF THEIR CHARACTER 
AND CULTURE.  THEY HAVE SUPPORTED THE PLO 
BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THE PLO IS THE ONLY VIABLE 
INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPRESSION OF 
PALESTINIAN NATIONALISM.  THEY HAVE THEREFORE 
CONTINUED TO BACK THE PLO DESPITE MANY 
DISAPPOINTMENTS, AND THE MAJORITY ARE LIKELY TO 
CONTINUE TO DO SO.  HOWEVER, SHOULD THE PLO FAIL 
TO OVERCOME ITS IDEOLOGICAL DIVISIONS AND TAKE 
INITIATIVES THAT WILL LEAD TO A POLITICAL 
DIALOGUE WITH ISRAEL, THE UNITY OF THE INTIFADA 
COULD BEGIN TO FRAY  ONE CAN IMAGINE A SCENARIO 
IN WHICH PFLP, DFLP, AND COMMUNIST ELEMENTS IN 
THE TERRITORIES, WHO ARE NOW WORKING WITH FATAH, 
COULD REVERT TO MORE EXTREME POSITIONS IN THE 
ABSENCE OF A POLITICAL BREAKTHROUGH.  IN SUCH A 
SITUATION, THE SECULAR-NATIONALIST PRAGMATIC 
CONSENSUS THAT IS THE DOMINANT FEATURE OF THE 
INTIFADA COULD CRUMBLE, AND FUNDAMENTALISM COULD 
MAKE SIGNIFICANT NEW INROADS, ESPECIALLY AMONG 
DISPOSSESSED GROUPS.  THUS, ALTHOUGH A 
MASS-BASED FUNDAMENTALIST MOVEMENT IS UNLIKELY 
TO EMERGE, THE FUNDAMENTALISTS COULD TAKE 
ADVANTAGE OF GROWING DESPAIR AND SECULAR- 
NATIONALIST DISUNITY TO FURTHER ITS POLICIES OF 
CONFRONTATION AND REJECTION. 
 
32.  DESPITE THE AVOWED ANTI-ISRAELI INTENTIONS 
OF HAMAS, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE MAIN CONTEST 
WILL, FOR THE TIME BEING, BE BETWEEN HAMAS AND 
THE UNLU.  THE MB HAS TRADITIONALLY FOCUSED ON 
ONE MAINSTREAM OPPONENT AT A TIME--THE WAFD IN 
EGYPT, THE BAATH IN SYRIA.  ITS CURRENT OPPONENT 
IN ITS STRUGGLE FOR THE SOULS OF PALESTINIANS IS 
THE MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE UNLU, FATAH.  UNTIL 
THIS STRUGGLE IS DECIDED, HAMAS IS UNLIKELY TO 
DIRECT ITS EFFORTS PRIMARILY AGAINST ISRAEL. 
 
ISLAMIC JIHAD 
------------- 
 
33.  THIS REPORT HAS FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON 
HAMAS/MB BOTH BECAUSE HAMAS IS THE MAIN 
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP ON THE WEST BANK, AND 
BECAUSE WE HAVE SO LITTLE INFORMATION ON THE 
OTHER ISLAMIC PARTIES.  ISLAMIC JIHAD, THE ONLY 
OTHER SUCH GROUP WITH A SIGNIFICANT WEST-BANK 
FOLLOWING, WAS ESTABLISHED BY ABU JIHAD TO 
ENHANCE FATAH'S APPEAL WITH RELIGIOUS MUSLIMS. 
ALTHOUGH IT HAS IN THE PAST CLAIMED INDEPENDENT 
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTS SUCH AS THE OCTOBER 1986 
ATTACK AT THE DUNG GATE, IT WAS DECAPITATED WHEN 
THREE SENIOR LEADERS WERE ASSASSINATED IN 
CYPRUS.  OUR INFORMATION IS THAT ITS CURRENT 
INFLUENCE ON THE WEST BANK IS MINOR AND THAT IT 
IS INCAPABLE OF ACTING INDEPENDENTLY OF THE 
MAINSTREAM FATAH ORGANIZATION ON THE WEST BANK. 
IT SEEMS TO BE DOING MOST OF ITS ORGANIZING IN 
WEST BANK PRISONS, WHERE A STRICT QUOTA SYSTEM 
AMONG GROUPS IS ENFORCED BY THE PRISONERS.  WE 
HAVE NO FIRM INFORMATION ON LINKS BETWEEN 
ISLAMIC JIHAD ON THE WEST BANK AND IN GAZA, OR 
WHETHER THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS ARE IN FACT THE 
SAME. 
 
QUESTIONS 
--------- 
 
34.  THIS BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC 
FUNDAMENTALIST ACTIVITY ON THE WEST BANK DOES 
NOT ADDRESS SEVERAL ISSUES OF CONTINUING 
IMPORTANCE, SUCH AS KEY FIGURES IN MB/HAMAS AND 
ISLAMIC JIHAD; COMMUNICATION BETWEEN HAMAS UNITS 
IN VARIOUS REGIONS OF THE WEST BANK, GAZA, 
CAIRO, AND AMMAN; THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN 
ISLAMIC JIHAD AND HAMAS IN THE WEST BANK AND 
GAZA; AND FATAH-HAMAS RELATIONS.  WE WILL BE 
EXPLORING THESE ISSUES IN FUTURE REPORTING. 
 
 
WILCOX 

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