Mideast Daily News

Hamas Appoints New Terror Chief for the West Bank

By Michael Friedson | The Media Line

January 11, 2018

Yahya Sinwar (C-L) leader of the Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, speaks during a meeting with the heads of families in Gaza City on December 26, 2017 (Photo: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Hamas governors of the Gaza Strip have appointed a new terror chief for the West Bank after his predecessor was promoted to be a deputy leader of the organization. That Hamas is operating in such an organized and lethal way outside of Gaza in the West Bank, which is controlled by the Fatah faction through the Palestinian Authority, is disruptive to Palestinian unity, so it was not surprising that the appointment was denied by the man allegedly named to hold the position. Maher Obeid, a 59-year old Jordanian native, called reports of his appointment to take control of planning terror attacks in the West Bank a “lie.” Of additional concern to both the Palestinian Authority and Israel is the close relationship Obeid enjoys with Iran. According to security experts, the Hamas presence in the West Bank is significant and well-organized, comprised of specific zones each with its own leadership contingent that is led by a local West Banker, each zone planning and carrying out terror attacks. Many of the senior personnel are seasoned terrorists who were released from Israeli jails as part of the 2006 prisoner swap that saw more than 1,000 terrorists released in return for the repatriation of soldier Gilad Shalit who was held captive by Hamas for five years. In the image of the crowded battlefields of Syria where one needs a scorecard to tell apart the parties and their allegiances, the growing warfare between ISIS and Hamas is a study in confusion for Mideast watchers. Although many believe the two terrorist groups to be soul-mates, the Islamic Republic accepts nothing short of maximum adherence to the strictest implementation of Islamic law as ISIS interprets. So, there is no room for the realpolitik as practiced by Hamas. That the crime Hamas is guilty of, though, is merely assuming its position alongside other Palestinian factions and as the ruler of the Gaza Strip. But the Hamas version of governing veers away from perfect observance of Sharia law – according to an ISIS video, Hamas is guilty of allowing for political foes to be imprisoned and of particular annoyance to ISIS, Hamas failed to prevent President Trump from declaring Jerusalem to be the Israeli capital. As if it could have. Yet, according to a New York Times report, the ultimate Hamas sin is to give precedence to man-made law by supporting Palestinian elections.

 

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