US embassy cable - 98TELAVIV15545

HAMAS CONSIDERS A NEW MODUS VIVENDI WITH PA

Identifier: 98TELAVIV15545
Wikileaks: View 98TELAVIV15545 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tel Aviv
Created: 1998-11-25 16:28:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KISL KWBG KPAL PREL PHUM GZ IS PGOV
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 251628Z NOV 98
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6527
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TEL AVIV 015545 
 
DEPT FOR NEA, NEA/IAI, AND SMEC 
 
NSC FOR RIEDEL AND COUNTRYMAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/08 
TAGS: KISL, KWBG, KPAL, PREL, PHUM, GZ, IS, PGOV 
SUBJECT: HAMAS CONSIDERS A NEW MODUS VIVENDI WITH PA 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POL/C, JOHN SCOTT, REASONS 1.5 (B/D) 
 
SUMMARY AND COMMENT: 
-------------------- 
 
1.  (C) IN THE AFTERMATH OF WIDE-SCALE ARRESTS OF HAMAS 
ACTIVISTS FOLLOWING THE OCTOBER 29 GUSH KATIF SUICIDE 
BOMBINGS, SOME OF OUR GAZA CONTACTS ARE STATING THAT 
HAMAS IS PREPARING TO ENTER INTO A LIMITED "TRUCE" WITH 
THE PALESTINIAN.AUTHORITY (PA).  THE TRUCE WOULD APPLY 
ONLY TO ATTACKS LAUNCHED FROM OR ON PA TERRITORY BUT 
WOULD SUPPOSEDLY ALSO BIND HAMAS LEADERSHIP TO 
"PERSUADING" HAMAS FUGITIVES TO TURN THEMSELVES IN UNDER 
GUARANTEES OF SAFETY.  OTHER CONTACTS POINT OUT THAT 
HAMAS HAS ENTERED INTO SUCH AGREEMENTS IN THE PAST AND 
DISCOUNT THE EITHER THE POSSIBILITY OR THE EFFICIACY OF 
A NEW AGREEMENT.  THEY ARGUE THAT EVEN IF THE LOCAL 
HAMAS LEADERSHIP IS INTERESTED IN REACHING A NEW MODUS 
VIVENDI WITH THE PA, THE OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP REMAINS 
INTENT ON KEEPING HAMAS' RADICAL EDGE.  THE OUTSIDE 
LEADERSHIP, THEY CLAIM RETAINS THE ABILITY TO ORDER 
TERRORIST OPERATIONS INSIDE OF ISRAEL AND THE PA- 
CONTROLLED AREAS PRIMARILY THROUGH ITS CONTROL OF 
SIGNIFICANT HAMAS FINANCIAL RESOURCES.  SIMILARLY, OUR 
CONTACTS APPEAR TO BE DIVIDED OVER THE LONG-TERM AFFECTS 
OF THE RECENT ARRESTS.  SOME HAVE ARGUED THAT THE 
ARRESTS, WHICH MAY NUMBERED IN THE HUNDREDS, FAILED TO 
INCLUDE MEMBERS OF THE SO-CALLED "MILITARY NING" AND HAD 
A NEGLIBLE IMPACT OF HAMAS OPERATIONS.  OTHERS CLAIM 
THAT HAMAS IS NOW IN A STATE OF INTERNAL CRISIS ARISING 
FROM A LACK OF COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TWO WINGS 
BECAUSE OF PA AND GOI PRESSURE, INCLUDING THE MOST 
RECENT ARRESTS, AND ARGUE THAT AS A RESULT OF THE 
PRESSURE, HAMAS WILL HAVE LITTLE OPTION BUT TO RESPOND 
"MILITARILY." 
 
2.  (C) PUBLIC REACTION TO THE ARRESTS AND TO CONTINUED 
PA SECURITY FORCE ACTIVITIES AIMED AT HAMAS IS GENERALLY 
NEGATIVE.  PUBLIC ANGER APPEARS TO BE LESS A RESULT OF 
ACTUAL SUPPORT FOR HAMAS THEN OF RESENTMENT AT ARAFAT'S 
PERCEIVED WILLINGNESS TO ATTACK HAMAS IN ORDER TO PLEASE 
THE U.S. AND ISRAEL.  BUT HAMAS' ABILITY TO CAPITALIZE 
ON THE RESENTMENT APPEARS FOR NOW TO BE LIMITED BY THEIR 
OWN FAILURE TO IDENTIFY A CLEAR AND VIABLE ALTERNATIVE 
TO ARAFAT'S PRESENT COURSE.  END SUMMARY AND COMMENT. 
 
3.  (C) ACCORDING TO PALESTINIAN MEDIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS 
GROUPS, PA SECURITY FORCES ARE CONTINUING TO SUMMON 
SUSPECTED ISLAMIST ACTIVISTS AND TO SEARCH THEIR HOMES. 
BUT POLICE ACTIVITIES APPEAR TO BE LOSING THEIR 
INTENSITY AND A NUMBER OF LOWER LEVEL ACTIVISTS HAVE NOW 
ALSO BEEN RELEASED.  THEIR NUMBERS ARE IN ADDITION TO 
THE RELEASE LAST WEEK OF ANOTHER FIVE PROMINENT HAMAS 
AND ISLAMIC JIHAD LEADERS.  ACCORDING TO HUMAN RIGHTS 
GROUPS, AT LEAST 160, AND PROBABLY AS MANY AS 200, 
SUSPECTED HAMAS ACTIVISTS REMAIN IMPRISONED.  ACCORDING 
TO IMAD FALOUJI, THE ISLAMIST MINISTER OF 
TELECOMMUNICATIONS, THE RELEASES WILL CONTINUE. 
 
A DEAL IS STRUCK? 
----------------- 
 
4.  (C) ACCORDING TO FALOUJI, THE PA IS ALSO CONSIDERING 
LIFTING THE HOUSE ARREST IMPOSED UPON HAMAS SPIRITUAL 
LEADER SHEIKH AHMED YASIN IMPOSED AFTER THE GUSH KATIF 
BOMBING LAST OCTOBER.  ENDING HIS STATE OF ARREST AS 
WELL AS CONTINUED RELEASE OF PRISONERS WOULD BE THE 
RESULT, ACCORDING TO FALOUJI, OF AN AGREEMENT REACHED 
BETWEEN PA AND HAMAS FOCUSSED ON FOUR ISSUES: (1) HAMAS 
WILLINGNESS TO END ATTACKS FROM OR ON PA TERRITORY, (2) 
HAMAS "HELP" IN "PERSUADING" FUGITIVES, INCLUDING 
NOTORIOUS TERRORIST MOHAMMED DEIF, TO TURN THEMSELVES 
INTO THE PA UNDER A PROMISE OF "FAIR" TREATMENT 
(COMMENT: WE DOUBT DEIF WILL BE IMPRESSED BY THIS 
OFFER), (3) AN END TO ANTI-PA INCITEMENT, AND (4) A PA 
PROMISE THAT HAMAS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE ITS 
"POLITICAL" (VICE "MILITARY") WORK.  TALK OF A 
"CEASEFIRE" HAS ALSO AROUSED CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION IN 
ISRAEL, ESPECIALLY CLAIMS BY ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES 
CHIEF OF STAFF MOFAZ THAT SUCH A DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE 
"POSITIVE AND RIGHT."  FALOUJI QUOTED PA CABINET 
SECRETARY TAYYIB ABDUL RAHIM, WHO HANDLES RELATIONS WITH 
HAMAS FOR ARAFAT, AS SAYING THAT HAMAS HAD AGREED TO 
THESE CONDITIONS IN A MEETING HELD EARLIER THIS WEEK. 
 
5.  (C) BUT OTHERS ARE NOT SO SURE.  AN AMERICAN 
REPORTER WHO RECENTLY INTERVIEWED HAMAS ACTIVIST ISMAEL 
ABU SHANAB TOLD POLOFF THAT ABU SHANAB HAD DISCUSSED 
WITH HIM HAMAS' ABILITY TO "TERRORIZE" ISRAEL WITH A 
HANDFUL OF ACTIVISTS.  ABU SHANAB, RELEASED FROM PRISON 
SHORTLY AFTER HIS ARREST, EXPRESSED NO REMORSE ABOUT THE 
CONSEQUENCES OF THE GUSH KATIF BOMBINGS ON HAMAS-PA 
RELATIONS.  SIMILARLY, GAZA REUTERS BUREAU CHIEF NIDAL 
AL-MOGHRABI TOLD POLOFF ON NOVEMBER 18 THAT HAMAS 
ACTIVISTS HAD REPORTED NO PROGRESS FROM THE SAME MEETING 
BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND TAYYIB ABDUL RAHIM THAT FALOUJI 
CLAIMED PRODUCED AN AGREEMENT. AL-MOGHRABI NOTED THAT 
HAMAS HAD REACHED SIMILAR AGREEMENTS WITH THE PA IN THE 
PAST, ONLY TO BREACH THEM WHEN AN ATTACK SUITED THEIR 
INTERESTS. 
 
WHOM DID THEY ARREST AND WHAT WAS THE IMPACT? 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) CONTROVERSY CONTINUES LIKEWISE ON THE QUESTION 
OF WHOM THE PA MANAGED TO ARREST AND WHAT THE IMPACT OF 
THE ARRESTS WAS ON HAMAS' ABILITY TO OPERATE.  A SENIOR 
SECURITY ANALYST FOR TITULAR PA SECURITY HEAD MG NASSIR 
YUSUF ADMITTED TO POLOFF THAT THE ARRESTS, WHILE BROAD, 
HAD NETTED NO ONE FROM THE MILITARY WING.  SIMILAR VIEWS 
WERE OFFERED BY NASSIR YUSUF HIMSELF, BY FALOUJI, BY 
FATAH CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER HANI AL-HASSAN, AND BY 
THE EDITOR OF THE ISLAMIST WEEKLY, "AL-RESALLAH," GHAZI 
HAMAD.  AL-HASSAN REPORTED THAT THE DEATHS OF IMAD 
AWADALLAH AND OTHERS FROM THE MILITARY WING HAD INDEED 
DISRUPTED "POLITICAL" CONTROL OVER THE UNDERGROUND CELLS 
FOR A FEW WEEKS, BUT HE BELIEVED THAT SUCH CONTROL HAD 
NOW BEEN REESTABLISHED. 
 
7.  (C) ON THE QUESTION OF TIES BETWEEN HAMAS' POLITICAL 
AND MILITARY WINGS, OUR CONTACTS DIVIDED SHARPLY.  GHAZI 
HAMAD, EDITOR OF THE ISLAMIST "AL-RESELLAH," SAID THAT 
RELATIONS WERE "IN CRISIS" AS A RESULT OF RECENT ARRESTS 
AND THE APPARENT LOSS OF INFLUENCE BY THE MORE 
"PRAGMATIC," INSIDE LEADERSHIP.  HAMAD ARGUED THAT THE 
ARRESTS, WHILE RANDOM (ALTHOUGH WANTED, HAMAD AVOIDED 
ARREST SIMPLY BY STAYING AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE AND 
AVOIDING HIS OFFICE FOR A FEW DAYS), WAS COMPELLING 
HAMAS TO SHOW THAT IT COULD STILL RESPOND.  HAMAD ARGUED 
THAT THE GUSH KATIF ATTACK WAS AN EXAMPLE OF THE LOSS OF 
POLITICAL CONTROL OVER THE MILITARY WING -- YASIN HAD 
BEEN DEEPLY TROUBLED BY THE ATTACK AND ITS IMPLICATIONS 
FOR HIS FUTURE ABILITY TO COME TO A MORE VIABLE MODUS 
VIVENDI (FROM HAMAS' STANDPOINT) WITH THE PA. 
 
8.  (C) FALOUJI CAST THE PROBLEM IN DIFFERENT TERMS.  HE 
TOLD US THAT YASIN'S OBJECTIONS TO THE GUSH KATIF ATTACK 
WERE NOT ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR ABILITY TO WRECK HAVOC 
WITH HIS ATTEMPTS TO IMRPOVE TIES WITH THE PA, BUT 
BECAUSE THEY SHOWED THAT THE OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP WAS IN 
A POSITION TO ORDER ATTACKS WITHOUT HIS SPECIFIC 
APPROVAL.  BUT WHILE THERE WERE DISAGREEMENTS, FALOUJI 
SAID THERE WAS NO QUESTION OF A BREAKDOWN IN 
COMMUNICATIONS WITHIN HAMAS OR A CRISIS (AS HAMAD 
CLAIMED) IN THE HAMAS LEADERSHIP. 
 
ENDING YASIN'S HOUSE ARREST 
--------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) AL-HASSAN ALSO REPORTED THAT HE HAD MET YASIN 
RECENTLY AND HAD FOUND HIM TO BE IN "HIGH MORALE" AND 
OCCUPYING HIMSELF BY READING ISLAMIC HISTORY.  THE 
WHEELCHAIR-BOUND YASIN POSSESSES ONLY A "BRAIN, 
IDEOLOGY, AND WILL," ACCORDING TO AL-HASSAN, AND HAS 
LITTLE ELSE TO LIVE FOR OTHER THAN HIS "CAUSE."  BUT AL- 
HASSAN WARNED THAT THE PROLONGED HOUSE ARREST OF AL- 
HASSAN WAS PROVING TO BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.  WITHOUT 
YASIN AND WITH MOST OF THE LOCAL LEADERSHIP IN AND OUT 
OF PA PRISONS OR OTHERWISE "MARGINALIZED," ACCORDING TO 
AL-HASSAN, HAMAS' OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP WAS BECOMING MORE 
PROMINENT.  AL-HASSAN REPORTED THAT YASIN TOLD HIM 
DURING THEIR MEETING THAT HE WAS "NOT RESPONSIBLE" FOR 
ANY FUTURE HAMAS ATTACKS, IMPLYING THAT HE COULD NOT BE 
HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ATTACKS ORDERED FROM THE OUTSIDE. 
AL-HASSAN SAID HE WAS URGING ARAFAT TO END YASIN'S 
ISOLATION, IF ONLY TO REASSERT THE POWER OF THE LOCAL 
LEADERSHIP.  FALOUJI ALSO SAID THAT HE WAS PUSHING 
ARAFAT TO RELEASE YASIN FROM HIS HOUSE ARREST AND HOPED 
FOR RESULTS "VERY SHORTLY." 
 
DEALING WITH HAMAS 
------------------ 
 
10.  (C) AL-HASSAN OFFERED A SIMILAR ASSESSMENT OF THE 
WYE AGREEMENT TO THAT FOUND IN A HAMAS MEMORANDUM ON THE 
SAME SUBJECT.  THE WYE PLANTATION MEMORANDUM WAS 
BASICALLY A "SECURITY MEMORANDUM" RATHER THAN A 
POLITICAL DEAL.  (COMMENT:  THIS VIEW IS WIDESPREAD IN 
GAZA.)  HE EMPHASIZED THAT HAMAS WAS A POLITICAL PROBLEM 
AND COULD NOT BE SOLVED BY PURELY SECURITY-RELATED 
MEANS.  A PROBLEM, HE NOTED, THAT IRONICALLY PLAGUED 
HAMAS ITSELF WHICH ALSO SOUGHT TO IMPOSE A "MILITARY" 
SOLUTION ON THE POLITICAL PROBLEM OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI 
DISPUTE.  AL-HASSAN DESCRIBED YASIN AS TAKING A LONG- 
TERM VIEW OF HIS SITUATION.  "THESE MEN THINK IN TERMS 
OF 25 YEARS, NOT A FEW WEEKS.  THEY HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS 
FOR TOMORROW," AL-HASSAN COMMENTED.  AT THE SAME TIME, 
HE NOTED THAT PA OFFERS OF A TRUCE TO HAMAS WOULD LIKELY 
BE REJECTED.  THE PA HAD CONVINCED HAMAS NOT TO TAKE 
"MILITARY" ACTIONS IN THE PAST, BUT HAD SUFFERED 
GRIEVOUS LOSSES, INCLUDING MUHI AL-DIN AL-SHERIFI, THE 
AWADALLAH BROTHERS, AND OTHERS.  AL-HASSAN CONCLUDED 
THAT THE PA HAD MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN THE PAST TO 
DESTROY HAMAS (HE DID NOT SPECIFY WHAT THESE 
OPPORTUNITIES WERE).  THE SOLUTION NOW WAS TO ISOLATE 
HAMAS POLICALLY BY MAKING PROGRESS IN THE PEACE PROCESS. 
 
11. (C) FALOUJI ALSO SAID HE WOULD PUSH ARAFAT TO END 
YASIN'S HOUSE ARREST.  BASING HIS COMMENTS ON THE 
ASSUMPTION THAT HAMAS HAS IN FACT OFFERED A "CEASEFIRE" 
(AN ASSUMPTION OTHERS HAVE CHALLENGED, SEE PARA 5), 
FALOUJI CLAIMS THAT THE PA MUST NOW SHOW ITS WILLINGNESS 
TO MEET HAMAS HALF-WAY BY RELEASING MORE PRISONERS AND 
ENDING YASIN'S HOUSE-ARREST.  TO DO OTHERWISE, FALOUJI 
CLAIMED, WOULD BE TO OPEN THE DOOR FURTHER TO HAMAS' 
OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP, WHICH, AS ARGUED AL-HASSAN, WAS 
GAINING GROUND AT YASIN'S EXPENSE THROUGH ITS CONTROL OF 
HAMAS FINANCES.  FALOUJI WENT ON TO SAY THAT THE PA WAS 
WEIGHING AN OFFER FOR HAMAS PARTICIPATION IN SOME 
CABINET DELIBERATIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR FORMULATING THE PA 
POSITION AND PLANS FOR THE POSSIBLE DECLARATION OF A 
PALESTINIAN STATE NEXT MAY.  IN AN ASIDE, FALOUJI 
COMMENTED THAT HAMAS WOULD MOVE PART OF ITS JORDANIAN 
LEADERSHIP TO SYRIA.  FALOUJI SAID THAT MUSA ABU MARZOUK 
AND KHALID MESHAL WOULD REMAIN IN JORDAN, AS THEY CARRY 
JORDANIAN CITIZENSHIP. MOHAMMED NAZZAR AND OTHERS WOULD 
LEAD THE MOVE TO DAMASCUS.  (COMMENT:  WE HAVE SEEN 
NUMEROUS REPORTS OF A HAMAS MOVE TO DAMASCUS BEFORE.  SO 
FAR, NO MOVE.) 
 
COMMENT: 
-------- 
 
12.  (C) THROUGH THE GUSH KATIF ATTACK (WE EXCLUDE THE 
LATER JERUSALEM BOMBING FOR WHICH ISLAMIC JIHAD CLAIMED 
RESPONSIBILITY) AND SUBSEOUENT CRACKDOWN, A RENEWED 
DEBATE OVER HAMAS AND THE FUTURE OF HAMAS - PA TIES IS 
TAKING PLACE IN GAZA.  THIS DEBATE APPEARS TO REVOLVE 
AROUND AT LEAST TWO OUESTIONS THAT ADMIT NO EASY ANSWER: 
(1) WHO CALLS THE SHOTS IN HAMAS (THE INSIDERS VS. 
OUTSIDERS ISSUE) AND (2) WHETHER THE RECENT WAVE OF 
ARRESTS HAS DONE ANYTHING TO DISRUPT RELATIONS BETWEEN 
THE MILITARY AND POLITICAL WINGS OF HAMAS.  AS IS 
APPARENT FROM THE FOREGOING, GAZANS THEMSELVES, 
INCLUDING ISLAMISTS, HAVE ARRIVED AT DIFFERENT ANSWERS 
TO THESE OUESTIONS. 
 
13. (C) FROM OUR CONVERSATIONS THERE DOES SEEM TO BE A 
GROWING CONCERN THAT HAMAS' OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP 
INCREASINGLY DESIRES TO BLOCK PA - HAMAS RAPPROCHEMENT. 
THIS IS PRESUMABLY BECAUSE AN UPTICK IN PA - HAMAS 
RELATIONS WOULD REDUCE OUTSIDE CONTROL OVER HAMAS BY 
GIVING THE LOCAL LEADERSHIP A COUNTER-WEIGHT TO THE 
OUTSIDE.  THE DESIRE TO MAINTAIN BETTER TIES MIGHT ALSO 
PROVE TO BE A RATIONALE FOR SUSPENDING US OF HAMAS' MOST 
POTENT WEAPON: THE ABILITY TO MOUNT TERRORIST 
OPERATIONS.  SUCH ARGUMENTS ARE PARTIALLY CONVINCING, 
BUT NOT TOTALLY SO GIVEN THAT VIRTUALLY ALL OF HAMAS' 
POLITICAL STRENGTH DERIVES FROM ITS POSITION INSIDE GAZA 
AND THE WEST BANK AND THUS CANNOT BE TOTALLY IGNORED BY 
ANY ASPECT OF ITS LEADERSHIP.  HAMAS' ROLE IN THE 
PALESTINIAN DIASPORA IS MUCH WEAKER THAN, FOR EXAMPLE, 
FATAH'S.  IT WOULD ALSO APPEAR THAT HAMAS WOULD LOSE A 
GREAT DEAL OF ITS POPULAR SUPPORT IF IT WERE TO LAUNCH 
AN ATTACK NOW, GIVEN THE LIKELIHOOD OF A RENEWED CLOSURE 
IMPOSED BY THE GOI. 
 
14.  (C) ON THE SECOND QUESTION CONCERNING THE EFFICIACY 
OF THE RECENT ARRESTS, MOST OF OUR CONTACTS (WITH THE 
EXCEPTION OF HAMAD), BELIEVED THAT THE EFFECT WAS 
NEGLIBLE.  IF WE CAN BELIEVE AL-HASSAN'S STORY OF 
YASIN'S HIGH MORALE WHILE READING ISLAMIC HISTORY OR ABU 
SHANAB'S REMARKS TO THE AMERICAN REPORTER ENDORSING THE 
USE OF TERROR TO "CONTROL" ISRAEL, THERE SEEMS TO BE 
LITTLE QUESTION OF AN ORGANIZATION IN A DEEP CRISIS. 
SEEN FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, THE PERENNIAL 
OUTSIDER/INSIDER QUESTION BECOMES ONE OF EMPHASIS RATHER 
THAN ONE WHICH DETERMINES HAMAS' OVERALL DIRECTION. 
 
15.  (C) AS A FINAL POINT, FALOUJI'S COMMENT THAT "HAMAS 
WILL NOT DISAPPEAR" SEEMS TO US RELEVANT.  THE PA IS 
INCURRING SUBSTANTIAL PUBLIC ANGER BECAUSE OF ITS 
CRACKDOWN, LESS BECAUSE OF PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR HAMAS THAN 
BECAUSE THE CRACKDOWN IS PERCEIVED TO BE BOWING TO 
ISRAELI AND U.S. DICTATES.  AT THE SAME TIME, THE PA 
PROBABLY REALIZES THAT THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT IT CAN 
DO AGAINST HAMAS FROM A PURELY SECURITY POINT OF VIEW, 
GIVEN HAMAS' DEEP-ROOTEDNESS IN SOCIETY AND GIVEN THE 
VIEW OF VIRTUALLY ALL GAZANS, INCLUDING FATAH STALWARTS, 
WHICH ACCEPTS HAMAS' RIGHT TO ENGAGE IN POLITICAL 
ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF TERRORISM.  YET IT IS PROBABLY ON 
THE POLITICAL LEVEL WHERE THE PA STANDS THE BEST CHANCE 
OF WINNING ITS STRUGGLE AGAINST HAMAS.  FIRST, THE PA 
WILL CLEARLY BENEFIT FROM THE PRESENT UPSURGE IN THE 
PEACE PROCESS, EVEN IF THIS PROCESS BRINGS LESS THAN 
MOST PALESTINIANS BELIEVE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO. SECOND, 
HAMAS HAS FAILED TO DEFINE A CREDIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO 
ARAFAT'S COURSE OF ACTION.  PA PRESSURE AGAINST HAMAS, 
ESPECIALLY IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE GUSH KATIF 
BOMBING, WAS ACCEPTED BY MOST GAZANS AND SERVED AS A 
USEFUL REMINDER TO ALL PALESTINIANS THAT HAMAS' 
TERRORIST ACTIONS THREATEN THE INTERESTS OF ALL 
PALESTINIANS.  BUT PA EFFORTS AGAINST HAMAS TO BE 
CREDIBLE WITHIN PALESTINIAN SOCIETY, MUST CONTAIN A 
POLITICAL COMPONENT, AS AL-HASSAN SUGGESTED, AS WELL. 
 
WALKER 

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