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May 21, 2005
When Hamas Is Just Not Radical Enough

For those who have argued for a Palestinian state as a resolution to Middle East violence, this development should cause some hesitation about the idea of sovereignty on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Scotsman reports that al-Qaeda has gained a toehold in Gaza by recruiting disenchanted terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad:

AL-QAEDA has established a foothold in Palestine with a new militant group based in Gaza formed by extremists who have become disillusioned with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Amid the biggest flare-up of violence in Gaza since a ceasefire was declared three months ago by Palestinians and Israelis, the Jerusalem Post has quoted unnamed Palestinian Authority security officials as saying that a new group called Jundallah or 'Allah's Brigade' had links to the terrorist organisation headed by Osama bin Laden.

The new terror group consists mainly of former Hamas and Islamic Jihad members who believe these two militant groups have become too moderate. It has close ties to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

Khaled Abu Toameh, a journalist for the Jerusalem Post, Israel's oldest and most respected English-language daily, has interviewed PA officials who said the establishment of Jundallah confirmed suspicions that al-Qaeda was attempting to gain a foothold in Gaza ahead of the planned Israeli withdrawal beginning on August 15.

The Palestinian Authority officially denies that AQ operates within its territories, but the PA has come under tremendous pressure to take action against the terrorists that it has largely ignored until now. Any indication that AQ has taken advantage of the power vacuum of Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian intransigence will put a much different spin on peace negotiations, as far as the US is concerned, and Abbas knows it. Even without AQ sponsorship, the new terror group clearly wants to mimic their priorities:

"Our people will not remain idle in the face of American crimes in Muslim countries," he said. "Soon everyone will see operations [against the US] that will make all the Muslims delighted." He also said Jundallah would not honour any unofficial truce with Israel.

Now we face the possibility of pushing the creation of a pre-failed state, a proto-Taliban in which al-Qaeda freely operates. Why the US should find that in our interest, or in the interest of peace, escapes me completely. The Palestinians themselves have made it clear at the ballot box that they prefer the warlike approach of Hamas over the pseudomoderate approach of Fatah, and now AQ has begun to provide them the war they obviously want against both the US and Israel. Even if Abbas wanted to eject the terrorists, he clearly has shown he cannot, even with the existing Hamas and IJ. He certainly won't have the fortitude to stand up to AQ.

It's time for another approach for Gaza and the West Bank.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 21, 2005 10:40 PM

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» A religion of peace??? from Don Singleton
A bunch of idiots blather anti-Israel comments in the UK, and Palestinians find Hamas is too peacful. I suspect there will be a Palestinian state, and just as before it will immediately attack Israel. I just hope that it is not another Six Day war, b... [Read More]

Tracked on May 22, 2005 10:14 AM

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