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The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA) was created in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Accords. Under the subsequent “Oslo Process,” the PA assumed the responsibilities of Israeli military administration in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (“Area A”), and was expected to expand that territory through final status negotiations. The PA includes a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), a legislative body with 132 seats elected from the West Bank and Gaza. As a result of the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, Hamas became the largest faction in the PLC with 72 seats. However, the rival Fatah faction, backed by Western governments concerned with Hamas’ continued militancy, undermined the rule of subsequent Hamas-dominated governments. After more than a year of tension, Hamas forcibly seized control of Gaza in 2007. The two territories remained under separate rule for seven years. In June 2014, Hamas and Fatah forged an interim unity government to reunify through formal elections. Conflict between Gaza and Israel erupted soon thereafter, however, and it became clear that Hamas fully controlled the territory. A follow-up reconciliation agreement in October 2017 failed to end the division, with Hamas unwilling to relinquish its weapons and the PA/Fatah unwilling to reassume civil control over Gaza. Despite intensive Egyptian mediation efforts throughout 2018, the impasse has only grown. Fatah maintains an iron grip on the West Bank, while Hamas remains the true power broker in Gaza.

Level of Islamist Activity: 
Severe
Islamist Activity: 

Hamas

“Hamas” means “zeal” in Arabic, and is an Arabic acronym for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah (the Islamic Resistance Movement). The group is primarily concentrated in the Gaza Strip, but has support in pockets of the West Bank. The group was founded as a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood in December 1987, during the early days of the intifada (uprising) against Israel. The Brotherhood refused to engage in violence against Israel, but Hamas’ founders believed that it was a duty to “resist.” According to one insider’s account, the secretive organization’s founders included Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Hassan Yousef, Ayman Abu Taha, Jamil Hamami, Mahmud Muslih, Muhammed Jamal al-Natsah, and Jamal Mansour.1

In addition to its immediate goal of destroying the State of Israel, Hamas’ 1988 mithaq (founding charter) illustrates the organization’s commitment to universal Islamist principles,  demonstrated by its slogan: “Allah is its goal [theocratic rule], the Prophet is its model [importance of the Sunna], the Qur’an its Constitution [sharia], Jihad [violence] is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”2 While most Hamas members are Palestinian Sunni Arabs, the charter welcomes Muslims who: “embraces its faith, ideology, follows its program, keeps its secrets, and wants to belong to its ranks and carry out the duty.”3

The Hamas charter conveys the conviction that Palestine is waqf, or land endowed to Muslims by Allah because it was “conquered by the companions of the Prophet.”4 Hamas also clearly defines nationalism as “part of the religious creed,”5 thereby universalizing the notion of “nationalism” to include the entire Muslim umma (community).6

To achieve its immediate goal of an Islamic Palestinian state, Hamas has steadfastly denounced the 1993 Oslo Accords, the 2007 Annapolis conference, and all other diplomatic efforts to establish a lasting peace in the region as a “contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”7 However, when addressing Western audiences, Hamas leaders such as Gaza-based Ismail Haniyeh and politburo chief Khaled Meshal have stated that they are willing to recognize Israel along pre-1967 borders.8 Yet other senior Hamas officials, such as Mahmoud al Zahar, bluntly state that no Hamas leaders are willing to acknowledge the pre-1967 borders or to live at peace with Israel.9

Hamas gained the support of a significant portion of the Palestinian people by providing social and welfare services and by presenting itself as Israel’s implacable foe, as well as a pious opponent of the more corrupt and ossified Fatah faction, whose officials comprise most of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA. Indeed, Hamas candidates ran under the name “Change and Reform List” in the 2006 legislative elections.10 Since its violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has taken steps to Islamize society there. However, there are indications that this may have only served to undermine the movement’s authority, curtailing social and cultural freedoms that had previously existed in the territory.11 Additionally, press reports indicate that Hamas has been losing popularity due to its poor management of Gaza’s festering economic and social problems, among other issues.12

Following September 11, 2001, the United States made efforts to cut the flow of cash to countless terror groups, including Hamas. Funds from Saudi Arabia, long identified as a top sponsor of Hamas, slowed following the Kingdom’s decision to cut back on funding jihadi groups after suffering attacks by an al-Qaeda affiliate in 2004.13 

Iran soon became Hamas’ primary state sponsor, with hundreds of millions of dollars pledged and delivered.14 This revenue stream was significantly and adversely impacted over time as U.S.-led sanctions sapped the Islamic Republic’s cash reserves, and Tehran cut most (if not all) financial assistance when tension arose between it and Hamas over attitudes toward the Assad regime in Syria. The Iranians strongly supported the embattled Syrian leader, while Hamas did not, and vacated its headquarters in Damascus in protest. However, following the regional decline of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, the victory of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, and its own economic troubles, Hamas has recently restored its ties with Iran.15 In the interim, Hamas reportedly expanded its ties with Turkey and Qatar, who at present are the group’s – and the Gaza Strip’s – primary state sponsors; indeed, by one count, Qatar alone has funneled $1 billion into Hamas-controlled Gaza since 2012.16 

Hamas augments its funds from state sponsors with donations from private charities (the most notorious being the now-defunct Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which channeled $12 million to the organization before it was proscribed17) and deep-pocketed donors around the world. Hamas has also extracted significant tax revenues from the subterranean tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula. For years the tunnels supported black market trade; however, since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have shut down hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border. According to officials in Gaza, this has slashed approximately $230 million per month from the Gaza economy.18 As a result, Hamas authorities have greatly increased local taxes in an effort to make up the budgetary shortfall.19 Nevertheless, these steps have not been enough to ameliorate the group’s financial distress stemming from ongoing Israeli, Egyptian and (more recent) PA curbs on economic activity inside Gaza.20  

Hamas, along with other like-minded violent factions, has fired more than 15,000 rockets and mortars into Israel since 2001.21 Evidence suggests that the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, killed over 500 people in more than 350 separate terrorist attacks and suicide bombings from 1993 to 2012. This estimate is conservative, and the number of attacks has only grown in more recent years.22 

The group draws a distinction between its political activities and its paramilitary attacks; however, this is a false distinction as all of the movement’s component parts contribute to “resistance” activities.23 The group’s late founder, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, is known to have remarked that “We cannot separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly.”24 In recent years Israeli authorities foiled numerous Hamas terror plots emanating from the West Bank.25 Israeli officials identified Gaza-based Hamas official Fathi Hamad26 and Turkey-based Hamas leader Saleh al-Aruri27 as key catalysts for many of these plots.28 Meanwhile Hamas maintains a significant arsenal, primarily via Iran, which gives the faction the ability to fire deep into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.  

After the 2014 war, Hamas continued to build tunnels into Israel and attempt to replenish its rocket supply.29 Hamas regularly uses items meant for humanitarian aid to construct rockets.30 The group has also carried out attacks across the West Bank, such as the fatal shooting of an Israeli rabbi in early 2018.31 The group has also in the past planned attacks against Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas32 Hamas was also known to cooperate with an ISIS affiliate in Sinai, originally known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which escalated tensions with the Egyptian government between 2014-2017.33 Hamas regularly trained and treated Islamic State fighters before sending them back into the Sinai Peninsula.34 However, more recently, Hamas-ISIS ties have reportedly eroded as a result of pressure from the Egyptian government and the group’s efforts to repair relations with Cairo.35  

With economic, humanitarian, and social conditions continuing to deteriorate in Gaza, Hamas began supporting protest marches on the Israeli border in March 2018.36 The goal of the marches was nominally the “right of return” for Palestinians who had been evicted or fled from their lands in 1948; however, Hamas’ real goal was increased international awareness for Gaza’s plight in order to end the Israeli and Egyptian blockade.37 Beginning in May 2018, weekly clashes on the border led to periodic escalations between Hamas (rocket fire) and the Israeli military (airstrikes and tank fire) which Egyptian and international mediators quickly reigned in. Hamas fired over 400 rockets and mortars at southern Israel over the course of two days in November 2018.38 After months of weekly demonstrations and periodic escalations, during which over 200 Gazan civilians and militants were killed due to Israeli fire,39 Hamas extracted additional funds, primarily from Qatar (with Israeli approval) to pay for civil servant salaries, fuel imports, and humanitarian projects.40 Yet Hamas’ objective of additional relief and an end to the blockade via a long-term truce with Israel remained elusive. By February 2019, Israeli military intelligence assessed that Hamas could capably escalate conflict in an attempt to gain further concessions from Israel.41 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

Harakat al-Jihād al-Islāmi fi Filastīn (Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ) was founded sometime between 1979 and 1981 by several Muslim Brotherhood members who, like the members of Hamas, felt that the Brotherhood was too moderate and its commitment to the principle of jihad and a Palestinian state governed according to sharia. The founding members were also inspired by the 1979 Iranian Revolution.42 Founders Fathi Shikaki and Abd al-Aziz Awda forged an organization whose ultimate aim was to destroy Israel through jihad. Unlike Hamas, which is amenable to a hudna (tactical truce) with Israel, PIJ explicitly rejects any compromise with the Jewish State.43

The exact size of PIJ, a highly secretive organization, is unknown. Most estimates suggest that membership ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand.44 The ethnic make-up of the group is overwhelmingly Palestinian Sunni, though there have been reports of increasing Shi’ite presence due to Iranian support.45

While PIJ was known for its suicide bombing attacks during the second intifada (2000-2005), the group has recently focused on rocket and sniper attacks and cross-border attack tunnel construction. The IDF has tried to thin PIJ’s ranks through targeted killings and arrests in recent years; the effectiveness of these actions is unclear.

In January 2014, the U.S. State Department designated Ziyad al Nakhalah, the Deputy Secretary General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).46 Other group leaders have yet to be designated. Like Hamas, PIJ’s activity against Israel from Gaza declined in 2013. However, it continued to plot and carry out attacks from the West Bank.47 It subsequently played a significant role in the rocket war of July 2014, firing Iranian-made or Iranian-furnished rockets deep into Israeli territory.

PIJ was also a strong supporter of the wave of violence (known as the “knife intifada” by some) that swept across Israel for nearly a year in 2015-2016. In May 2016 Iran renewed its financial support of PIJ after nearly two years.48 In Tehran, PIJ leader Ramadan Shallah praised Iran for its support of the “Palestinian intifada.”49 When municipal elections were initially announced in the West Bank and Gaza in August 2016, PIJ boycotted the elections, as it had done on all previous occasions, unsuccessfully urging Palestinians to escalate the violence instead.50

PIJ plays an integral role in the Gaza marches on the Israel border, with several of its members reported killed by Israeli fire during the months of unrest that began in March 2018.51 More recently, PIJ was held responsible for rocket and mortar fire from Gaza into southern Israel—a sign, according to some, of renewed Iranian influence on Palestinian politics.52 This trend continued with two major incidents from Gaza – a rocket barrage into southern Israel in October 201853 and sniper fire on Israeli forces in January 2019.54 By April 2019, Israeli security sources were warning of a major cross-border PIJ attack meant to scuttle Egypt’s mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas.55

PIJ’s pursuit of a policy ostensibly independent of Hamas was attributed in part to Ziad al-Nakhaleh’s promotion to secretary-general (replacing the infirm Shallah).56 Reports indicate that al-Nakhaleh is more militant than Shallah, and may seek to solidify his authority and continue currying favor with Iran by adopting hardline policies.57

Popular Resistance Committees

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) is made up of “former armed activists of different factions,” and is likely the third largest violent group in the Palestinian territories, after Hamas and PIJ.58 According to the IDF, the PRC often “acts as a sub-contractor” for Iran, and is heavily influenced by Hezbollah.59

In recent years, the group has become increasingly Salafi in outlook and reportedly begun working with Salafi jihadist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula abutting Gaza.60 In February 2014, the Israeli Air Force targeted a PRC operative known to work with the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.61

However, in light of Hamas’ attempts to prevent unauthorized rocket attacks against Israel, the group has at times found itself at odds with Hamas. In July 2013, for example, the PRC demanded Hamas stop its arrest of the mujahideen in the Gaza Strip.62 The PRC maintained a low profile during the 2014 rocket war, although its personnel are still active when trying to provoke Israeli retribution against Hamas. Israel holds Hamas responsible for militant activity emanating from Gaza. An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on the Israel-Gaza border targeting Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel was deemed to be a PRC operation.63 More recently, the PRC’s military wing issued a public call for Bitcoin donations, highlighting the group’s financial distress and its continued militant activities.64

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AAMB) is the military wing of the secular Fatah faction, and has adopted Islamist symbols and slogans.65 The group was formally designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States in March 2002, largely due to its responsibility for suicide bombings and small arms attacks targeting Israel during the second intifada.66

While the AAMB has primarily operated out of the Gaza Strip, with a handful of operations in the West Bank, the group has largely remained dormant over the past few years.67 According to the U.S. Department of State, “Iran has exploited al-Aqsa’s lack of resources and formal leadership by providing funds and guidance, mostly through Hezbollah facilitators.”68 The primary acts of violence carried out by the group in recent years have been rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel.69 In recent years, however, press reports have suggested that the group may seek a comeback in the West Bank.70 In March 2016, thirteen Palestinians were injured in firefights between the Palestinian Authority and members of the Aqsa Martyrs in Nablus.71 As clashes escalated in August 2016, the PA arrested a local AAMB leader, Ahmed Izz Halawa, and beat him to death.72 Halawa’s death sparked mass protests in the West Bank.73 Gunfights between PA security forces and local gangs erupt sporadically in the wake of PA arrest operations into Nablus’ Balata refugee camp, as was the case in February 2018.74

Group members have taken part in (and been killed during) the “March of Return” border protests of 2018.75 Training for attacks against Israel is ongoing. AAMB has publicly stated that, during any future conflict, it would fight alongside Hamas, PIJ and the other Gaza-based factions.76

Jaysh al-Islam (JI)

Jaysh al-Islam (JI), or “Army of Islam,” is closely linked to the Dughmush clan of Gaza, and it is believed to have several hundred members.77 Founded in 2005, JI is similar to other Palestinian Islamist splinter groups due to its global jihadist objectives and suspected ties to al-Qaeda in its early days.78

The group’s affinity for al-Qaeda is widely documented. Days after the death of Osama bin Laden, JI released a eulogy for the fallen al-Qaeda leader.79 In May 2011 the group was designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. Department of State. The accompanying press release noted that JI “worked with Hamas and is attempting to develop closer al Qaeda contacts.”80 In 2006, the group sent a letter to senior al-Qaeda leaders, asking whether it was permissible to accept money from other groups in Gaza that did not share their ideology, specifically nationalists or Iranian-backed factions.81 Israeli officials also noted in 2006, “alleged efforts by Mumtaz Dughmush to make contact with Global Jihad sources, possibly to include those responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole.”82

During Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a consolidation of Salafi jihadist groups in Gaza, and JI conducted joint rocket attacks against Israel.83 According to Israeli officials, JI operated training camps in Gaza for jihadists (with the blessing of Hamas) who subsequently went to fight in Yemen, Syria, and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, among other locations.84 According to one JI leader, however, the group is not officially allied with either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.85 

Recently Hamas has cracked down on Salafist groups operating from Gaza, including JI, in a bid to rehabilitate its relationship with the Egyptian government and curb rocket fire against Israel.86

Jaysh al-Ummah (JU)

Ideologically affiliated with al-Qaeda, Jaysh al-Ummah (JU), or the “Army of the Nation,” believes that “the sons of Zion are occupiers and they must be uprooted completely… We will fight them as we are ordered by God and the Prophet Mohammad.”87 The Salafi jihadist group was formed in either 2006 or 2007, and is led by Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi. While the group’s membership number is kept secret, it lacks the capability to strike targets outside of Gaza, suggesting it is small in size.88

JU has historically been critical of Hamas. Most notably, it has criticized Hamas for arresting its members as they attempted to carry out terrorist operations.89 Hamas appears to allow JU to conduct dawa-related activity in the Gaza Strip, however.90

JU has warned against the increasing influence of Iran and its proxy PIJ in the Gaza Strip. While the group has denied an operational connection to al-Qaeda, it maintains a similar ideological outlook as the Bin Laden network.91 We are “connected to our brothers in Al Qaeda by our beliefs, we and they are following the great Prophet. Osama bin Laden is our brother and we appreciate him very much,” a JU official stated.92

Since 2013, the group has issued a number of statements and videos that belie its Salafi beliefs. In January 2013, the jihadist group issued a video urging “all the mujahideen all over Earth to target Iranian interests everywhere.”93 In a separate message released in January 2013, JU called for greater support for jihadists in Mali: “[W]e will support and be loyal and aid our mujahideen monotheist brothers in Mali without limits.”94 In August 2013, Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, JU’s leader, called on Egyptians to wage jihad against Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.95 In November 2013 the group issued a eulogy for Hakeemullah Mehsud, the former emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.96 JU supposedly fought alongside other militant factions against Israel during the 2014 Gaza War.97 As of June 2018, JU was still launching fundraising appeals to supporters via various social media platforms.98 

Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT)

The Palestinian “Party of Liberation” is a local affiliate of the larger international HuT movement. The group’s immediate aim is to establish a caliphate and implement sharia law throughout the Muslim world.99

Despite HuT’s well-documented enmity toward Israel, the group does not directly engage in terrorism, nor do its branches maintain an armed wing. Rather, HuT seeks to “agitate and educate.”100 While no reliable figures can be found regarding HuT’s membership in the Palestinian Territories, it is widely considered to be small, despite its organic base of support.

HuT organized a demonstration with over 2,500 attendees in Hebron, dissenting against the PLO’s participation in the 2007 Annapolis peace summit; in the aftermath, one protestor was killed by PA police.101 Over 10,000 HuT supporters gathered in Al-Bireh under the slogan: “the caliphate is the rising force.”102 In July 2010, PA security forces arrested thousands of HuT supporters at a rally in Ramallah.103 

HuT members were arrested by the Palestinian Authority after PA forces disrupted an HuT rally in the West Bank.104 In August 2011, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas drew fire from HuT when Abbas suggested that NATO may have a presence in a future Palestinian state.105

HuT has continued to hold events in the West Bank despite intermittent security crackdowns.106 In February 2014, HuT accused Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank of arresting its members for criticizing President Abbas.107 The group was represented during the unrest in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat following the murder of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli extremists. 

In recent years, HuT activities have been confined primarily to West Bank universities.108 However, the group still maintains an elaborate media outreach and education arm online, issuing constant press releases on current developments in PA politics, international politics and Israeli actions.109

Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC)

The MSC, a Salafi jihadist group, was formed in the Gaza Strip in 2012. The group is a consolidation of Ansar al-Sunnah and the Tawhid and Jihad Group in Jerusalem.110 In November 2012, one MSC leaders stated that the group aims to “fight the Jews for the return of Islam’s rule, not only in Palestine, but throughout the world.”111 

While the exact size of the group is unknown, it claims responsibility for a number of rocket attacks against Israel, some of which have been carried out with Jaysh al Islam.112 MSC took responsibility for a June 2012 bombing and shooting attack that killed one Israeli civilian.113 According to a video released by the MSC, the June attack was “a gift to our brothers in Qaedat al Jihad [al-Qaeda] and Sheikh [Ayman al-] Zawahiri” and a retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden.114

Several Israeli air strikes targeted MSC operatives in 2012. After those attacks, jihadi groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and leaders like al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri posted eulogies online. 

The MSC was one of several Salafi jihadi groups that took part in the November 2012 conflict with Israel. Following the ceasefire, the group said that “[W]e truly are not a party to the signing of this truce between the Palestinian factions and the Jews.”115 Throughout 2013, the MSC promoted the jihad in Syria as well as the efforts of the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Bayt al Maqdis through its media wing.116 In November 2013, three MSC operatives were reported killed by Israeli security forces in Yatta ahead of planned terrorist attacks.117

MSC attacks peaked in 2013 with several instances of rocket fire on Israeli towns, including in April and August of that year on the southern city of Eilat (likely emanating from the Sinai Peninsula). MSC also declared its support for the Islamic State in February 2014. In response, the U.S. State Department declared MSC a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.118 Prominent MSC leaders have recently been targeted for arrest by Hamas authorities in Gaza (as part of broader crackdowns on Salafist groups), likely explaining the organization’s diminished profile.119

Harakat as-Sabirin Nasran li-Filastin 

Harakat as-Sabirin Nasran li-Filastin (as-Sabirin), or “The Movement of the Patient Ones for the Liberation of Palestine” is a new, Iran-sponsored terror group in Gaza.120 Founded in early 2014, the group burst onto the scene when one of its fighters, Nizar Saeed Issa, died in a mysterious explosion in the Gaza refugee camp of Jabalya.121 Since then, As-Sabirin has lost two fighters in apparent clashes with Israel. 

As-Sabirin is a Shiite group in a predominantly Sunni territory. Its flag and logo are inspired by Hezbollah, and its fighters are pulled from another Iranian proxy: PIJ. Its charter states that “jihad is the way of Allah to open doors to paradise… and in particular our journey faces the might enemies of the racist Zionist body and on its head America the great Satan.”122 

As-Sabirin is headed by Hisham Salem, a former PIJ commander from a prominent family in Gaza.123  During the second intifada, Salem was placed on Israel’s most wanted terrorist list.124 He has run several charities in the Gaza Strip, one of which, al-Baqiyat al-Salihat, was shut down by Hamas for spreading Shi’ism.125 

The Iranian proxy group receives approximately $10 million per year from Tehran typically smuggled through tunnels into Gaza.126

In February 2016, the Palestinian Authority broke up an as-Sabirin cell in Bethlehem attempting to convert families in the West Bank to Shiism.127 In January 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that as-Sabirin was now a “Specially-Designated Global Terrorist Group.”128

Islamism and Society: 

Evidence suggests that Hamas has been, at several points in the past, more popular among Palestinians than its secular rival, Fatah. Some analysts contend that such support is attributable more to a rejection of Fatah’s alleged corruption rather than sincere support for Hamas’ Islamism and militancy.129 However, it may also be tied to the dwindling popular support, for the PLO’s peace negotiations with Israel. An April 2019 poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 50 percent of Palestinians now oppose a two-state solution; 58 percent do not believe it is feasible due to Israeli settlement expansion. More indicative, Palestinians were evenly split over the question of negotiations versus armed resistance vis-à-vis Israel.130 

Since Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in 2007, anecdotal evidence suggests that the daily challenges of governance have eroded some of the popular support Hamas garnered through its resistance of Israel.131 In other words, it is hard to maintain popular support as a revolutionary movement when saddled with mundane problems. As one senior Hamas leader in the West Bank acknowledged in 2014, “the sovereign loses.”132 Most telling, opinion polls in late 2018 showed a slight increase in support for Hamas (relative to the PLO/Fatah) due primarily to the lack of a diplomatic process with Israel, concessions wrung for Gaza from the “March of Return” protests, and Abbas’s long rule.133 By early 2019, those numbers dropped due to Hamas’s violent suppression of internal protests,134 as well as the adverse consequences of its escalation of hostilities with Israel. Under both Hamas rule in Gaza and PLO rule in the West Bank, evidence suggests that Christian minorities suffer discrimination and persecution, including religiously-motivated attacks on churches, destruction of crosses and altars, and the kidnapping and forced conversion of Christian girls.135 Admittedly, Christians live with significantly more freedom in the West Bank relative to Gaza since Hamas took control of the coastal territory.136

Islamism and the State: 

The active role of violent Islamist groups in the West Bank has dropped precipitously since the 2007 Palestinian civil war. Fearing a Hamas takeover in the West Bank, the United States and other Western states have been furnishing the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank with military training, weaponry, financing, and intelligence in order to more efficiently battle Hamas and other factions. Close security coordination between the PA and Israel has remained intact in the battle against perceived common Islamist enemies. Indeed, Hamas marches in the West Bank in December 2018, on the anniversary of the group’s founding, were violently suppressed by PA security forces.137 This approach has undoubtedly been successful; the West Bank has been relatively stable over the past decade compared to preceding years.138

With Hamas entrenched in Gaza, Israel will not likely neutralize the group with stand-off military power alone. The 2014 conflict made this clear; even as Israel pounded hundreds of Hamas targets, long-range rockets continued to strike deep into Israeli territory. Some propose that Israel should enter into negotiations with its long-time foe. Others contend that, because Hamas is at one of its historically weakest political and economic points, now may be the time to cripple the group. 

 The question of who controls Gaza after Hamas has prompted the Israelis to opt for the former approach. The threat of a bloody ground campaign to reoccupy the territory, in addition to potential anarchy afterwards, has counseled for a policy of restraint, at least so far.139 As of early 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had clearly chosen to enter into talks with Hamas via mediation from Egypt, funneling economic relief into Gaza and stating that “Leaders need to find a way…to return security [to southern Israel], to avoid humanitarian collapse and avoid needless wars.”140

The shift in Israel’s Gaza policy can be attributed in part to the collapse of the reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah. Under the terms of multiple agreements that were never fully implemented, Fatah/PA would retake civilian control over Gaza, sparing Hamas the financial and political burdens of governance. Yet a major sticking point for PA President Mahmoud Abbas remains Hamas’s unwillingness to disarm, which he has termed the “Hezbollah model.”141 As of 2019, real reconciliation and unity between Gaza and the West Bank, and between Hamas and Fatah, is unlikely – including with respect to the holding of open PA elections. Absent this unity, both political systems will likely remain separate even after Abbas exits the stage.142 

Citations: 

[1] Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ron Brackin, Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices (Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2010), 253-255.

[2] “Hamas Covenant 1988,” The Avalon Project, n.d., http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.

[3] “Hamas Covenant 1988,” The Avalon Project, n.d.

[4] “Hamas Covenant 1988,” The Avalon Project, n.d.

[5] “Hamas Covenant 1988,” The Avalon Project, n.d.

[6] See, for example, “Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal: The Jews Were Brought to Palestine for the “Great Massacre” Through Which Allah Will “Relieve Humanity of Their Evil”,” Middle East Media Research Institute, May 11, 2011, http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2934.htm.

[7] “Hamas Covenant 1988.”

[8] Amira Hass, “Haniyeh: Hamas Willing To Accept Palestinian State With 1967 Borders,” Ha’aretz, September 11, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/news/haniyeh-hamas-willing-to-accept-palestinian-state-with-1967-borders-1.256915; “Meshal: Hamas Seeks Palestinian State Based on 1967 Borders,” Ha’aretz, May 5, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/news/meshal-hamas-seeks-palestinian-state-based-on-1967-borders-1.275412.

[9] Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas Official Says 'Abbas Doesn’t Represent Anyone',” Al Monitor, February 20, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/mahmoud-al-zahar-hamas-recognizing-israel-mahmoud-abbas.html.

[10] “Who’s Who in the Palestinian Elections,” BBC News, January 16, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4601420.stm 

[11] Jonathan Schanzer, “The Talibanization of Gaza: A Liability for the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hudson Institute Current Trends in Islamist Ideology 9, August 19, 2009, http://www.currenttrends.org/research/detail/the-talibanization-of-gaza-a-liability-for-the-muslim-brotherhood; Abeer Ayyoub, “Hamas Pushes Islamization of Gaza,” Al Monitor, February 4, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/hamas-islamization-gaza.html.

[12] Rasha Abou Jalal, “Hamas Sinks in Polls After Cutting Salaries to Public Servants,” Al Monitor, February 20, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/hamas-gaza-salaries-payments-siege.html.

[13] Matthew Levitt, “A Hamas Headquarters in Saudi Arabia,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policy Watch 521, September 28, 2005, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/a-hamas-headquarters-in-saudi-arabia.

[14] Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Hamas Gaza Leader Heads for Iran,” Reuters, January 30, 2012, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/uk-palestinians-hamas-iran-idUKTRE80T14P20120130.

[15] Adnan Abu Amer, “What Is Behind the Hamas-Iran Rapprochement,” Al Jazeera (Doha)July 26, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/hamas-iran-rapprochement-180725150509789.html

[16] Yaniv Kubovich, “With Israel’s Consent, Qatar Gave Gaza $1 Billion Since 2012,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), February 10, 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-with-israel-s-consent-qatar-gave-gaza-1-billion-since-2012-1.6917856; Yoni Ben Menachem, “Turkey Embraces Hamas,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 22, 2018, http://jcpa.org/turkey-embraces-hamas/

[17] “Five US Men Jailed for Allegedly Funding Hamas,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), May 28, 2009, http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=210849.

[18] “Tunnel Closure ‘Costs Gaza $230 Million Monthly,’” Agence France Presse, October 27, 2013, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gj2-72tPr4jJFBW_e52ASHwGfy8g?docId=aa97be5f-8a83-45b7-9fdd-cf4bc0ec6d74.

[19] “Hamas Taxation Is Pushing Gaza’s Residents to the Brink,” Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, March 16, 2017, http://www.cogat.mod.gov.il/en/Our_Activities/Pages/hamas-taxation.aspx

[20] Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Anger As Palestinian Authority Cuts Gaza Salaries and Pays Late,” Reuters, May 3, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-gaza-salaries/anger-as-palestinian-authority-cuts-gaza-salaries-and-pays-late-idUSKBN1I41LM

[21] “Rocket Attacks on Israel From Gaza,” IDF Blog, n.d, http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/; “2010 Annual Summary,” Israel Security Agency, n.d., http://www.shabak.gov.il/SiteCollectionImages/english/TerrorInfo/reports/2010summary2-en.pdf.

[22] Bryony Jones, “Q&A: What is Hamas?” CNN, November 24, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/16/world/meast/hamas-explainer/.

[23] Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).

[24] U.S. Department of the Treasury, “U.S. Designates Five Charities Funding Hamas and Six Senior Hamas Leaders as Terrorist Entities,” August 22, 2003, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js672.aspx.

[25] See, for example, Yoav Zitun, “Shin Bet Foils Hamas-Planned Bombing in Israel,” Hamas-Planned Bombing in Israel,” Yediot Ahronot (Tel Aviv), November 22, 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5412061,00.html.

[26] David Barnett, “Hamas Interior Minister Behind Terror Group's Activities in West Bank,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, March 13, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/03/hamas_interior_minister_behind.php.

[27] Amos Harel, “Hamas is Alive and Kicking in the West Bank – But in Remote Control,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), December 21, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/.premium-1.564568.

[28] Israel Security Agency, “2013 Annual Summary,” n.d., http://www.shabak.gov.il/English/EnTerrorData/Reports/Pages/2013AnnualSummary.aspx.

[29] “Hamas Says it Continues to Build Tunnels to Attack Israel,” Huffington Post, January 29, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20160129/ml-gaza-tunnels/?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=world.

[30] “Israel Intercepts Materials for Building Tunnels, Rockets on their Way to Hamas,” The Tower, May 27, 2016, http://www.thetower.org/3430oc-israel-intercepts-materials-for-building-tunnels-rockets-on-their-way-to-hamas/.

[31] Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury, “In Raid, Israel Security Forces Kill Murderer of West Bank Rabbi,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), February 6, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/israel-security-forces-kill-murderer-of-west-bank-rabbi-in-raid-1.5791086

[32] Mitch Ginsburg, “Abbas Orders Probe into Hamas Coup Plot Revealed by Israel,” Times of Israel, August 19, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-orders-investigation-into-hamas-coup-plot-revealed-by-israel/.

[33] Ehud Yaari, “Hamas and the Islamic State: Growing Cooperation in the Sinai,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policywatch 2533December 15, 2015, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/hamas-and-the-islamic-state-growing-cooperation-in-the-sinai.

[34] “IDF General: IS Fighters Training with Hamas in Gaza,” Times of Israel, May 13, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-general-is-fighters-entered-gaza-to-train-with-hamas/.

[35] Iyad Abuheweila and Isabel Kershner, “ISIS Declares War on Hamas, and Gaza Families Disown Sons in Sinai,” New York Times, January 10, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/world/middleeast/isis-hamas-sinai.html.

[36] Elior Levy and Yoav Zitun, “Situation in Gaza Approaches Critical Point,” Yediot Ahronot (Tel Aviv), February 5, 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5090907,00.html.

[37] Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas Focused on Ending the Blockade,” Al Monitor, May 18, 2018. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/israel-palestinians-hamas-fatah-mahmoud-abbas-idf-border.html

[38] Neri Zilber, “Israel and Gaza Go to War Despite Themselves,” The Daily Beast, November 13, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/israel-and-gaza-go-to-war-despite-themselves

[39] Anna Ahronheim, “B’tselem Says 290 Palestinians Killed by IDF Fire in 2018,” Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/BTselem-says-290-Palestinians-killed-by-IDF-fire-in-2018-577752

[40] Alex Fishman, “Second Installment of Qatari Funds to Enter Gaza This Week,” Yediot Ahronot (Tel Aviv), December 3, 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5419049,00.html

[41] Judah Ari Gross, “IDF Warns Hamas Likely to Spark War in Gaza in Bid for International Support,” Times of Israel, February 14, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-warns-hamas-likely-to-spark-war-in-gaza-in-bid-for-international-support/

[42] Asmaa al-Ghoul, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Iran Supplies All Weapons in Gaza,” Al Monitor, May 14, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/gaza-islamic-jihad-and-iranian-arms.html.

[43] Holly Fletcher, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 10, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/palestinian-islamic-jihad/p15984.

[44] “Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” in U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011, July 31, 2012, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195553.htm; Abeer Ayyoub, “Iran Top Backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Al Monitor, January 9, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/palestinian-islamic-jihad.html; Crispian Balmer and Nidal al-Mughrabi, “Single-Minded Islamic Jihad Grows in Gaza's Shadows,” Reuters, November 12, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/12/us-palestinians-islamicjihad-idUSBRE9AB08720131112.

[45] Avi Issacharoff, “Hamas Brutally Assaults Shi’ite Worshippers in Gaza.” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), January 17, 2012, http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/hamas-brutally-assaults-shi-ite-worshippers-in-gaza-1.407688.

[46] David Barnett, “US Designates Deputy Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Long War Journal, January 23, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/01/us_designates_deputy.php.

[47] See, for example, David Barnett, “Palestinian Islamic Jihad Operatives Behind Recent Bus Bombing Near Tel Aviv,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, January 3, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/01/palestinian_islamic_jihad_oper.php.

[48] Maayan Groisman, “Iran to Renew Financial Support for Islamic Jihad After Two-Year Hiatus,” Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Reembracing-Islamic-Jihad-Iran-to-renew-financial-aid-for-Palestinian-terror-group-454968.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Adam Rasgon, “Islamic Jihad Calls to Escalate Intifada and Boycott Palestinian Elections,” Jerusalem Post, August 9, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Islamic-Jihad-calls-to-escalate-intifada-as-it-boycotts-Palestinian-elections-463651.

[51] Judah Ari Gross, “Hamas Official: 50 of the 62 Gazans Killed in Border Violence Were Our Members,” Times of Israel, May 16, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-official-50-of-the-people-killed-in-gaza-riots-were-members/.

[52] Yaniv Kubovich, “Iran’s Fighting Force in Gaza, Calling and Firing the Shots: This Is Islamic Jihad in Palestine,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), June 17, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iran/.premium-what-is-islamic-jihad-in-palestine-iran-s-fighting-force-in-gaza-calling-and-firing-the-shots-1.6158730.

[53] “Islamic Jihad Claims Gaza Rocket Fire; IDF Says Iran, Syria Responsible,” Times of Israel, October 27, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-jihad-claims-gaza-rocket-fire-idf-says-iran-syria-responsible/

[54] Elior Levy, Yoav Zitun and Inbar Tvizer, “Islamic Jihad Releases Footage of IDF Officer Being Shot in Head,” Yediot Ahronot (Tel Aviv), February 3, 2019, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5457259,00.html

[55] Elior Levy, “Islamic Jihad Planning Major Attack to Scupper Gaza Deal, IDF Believes,” Yediot Ahronot (Tel Aviv), April 1, 2019, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5487781,00.html

[56] Jack Khoury, “Islamic Jihad Names New Chief to Replace Ill Long-Time Leader,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), September 28, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/islamic-jihad-names-new-chief-to-replace-ill-long-time-leader-1.6513542

[57] Muhammad Shehada, “Iran Is Declaring War on Israel – From Gaza,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), March 29, 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-iran-is-declaring-war-on-israel-from-gaza-1.7065348

[58] “Who is the Palestinian Group Blamed for the Attacks?” Reuters, August 19, 2011, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/who-is-the-palestinian-group-blamed-for-the-attacks-1.379509.

[59] “What Is The Popular Resistance Committee?” IDF Blog, March 10, 2012, http://www.idfblog.com/2012/03/10/popular-resistance-committee/; “Who is Organizing the PRC,” Walla, June 28, 2006, http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//931483.

[60] Category Archives: Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Brigades (PRC),” Jihadology, n.d., http://jihadology.net/category/na%E1%B9%A3ir-%E1%B9%A3ala%E1%B8%A5-ad-din-brigades-prc/.

[61] David Barnett, “Israel Targets Gaza Terror Operative Linked to Sinai-Based Ansar Jerusalem,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, February 9, 2014, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/02/israel_targets_gaza_terror_ope.php

[62] David Barnett, “Popular Resistance Committees Calls on Hamas to Stop Arrests of 'Mujahideen,’” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, July 22, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/07/popular_resistance_committees.php.

[63] Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas’ Grip on Gaza Weakens,” Al Monitor, February 20, 2018. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/israel-idf-gaza-hamas-popular-resistance-committees-war.html

[64] Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, “Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees Called on Their Supporters to Donate Money Using the Virtual Currency Bitcoin,” February 4, 2019, https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/hamas-popular-resistance-committees-called-supporters-donate-money-using-virtual-currency-bitcoin/

[65] Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The Involvement of Arafat, PA Senior Officials and Apparatuses in Terrorism against Israel: Corruption and Crime,” May 6, 2002, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2002/5/The+Involvement+of+Arafat-+PA+Senior+Officials+and.htm.

[66] Holly Fletcher, “Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 2, 2008, http://www.cfr.org/israel/al-aqsa-martyrs-brigade/p9127.

[67] See, for example, Ethan Bronner, “Israeli Military Kills 6 Palestinians,” New York Times, December 26, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/world/middleeast/27mideast.html.

[68] “Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”

[69] See, for example: “Militant Group Claims Responsibility for Projectile,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), December 28, 2011, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=448358.

[70] “In Photos: Al-Aqsa Brigades Hold Military Parade in Qalandiam,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), November 17, 2013, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=648178; Naela Khalil, “Is Fatah's Armed Wing Making Comeback?,” Al Monitor, September 25, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/hebron-israeli-soldiers-killed-fatah-intifada.html.

[71] Daniel Douek, “13 Injured as Palestinian Police Clash with Gunmen in Nablus,” Times of Israel, March 29, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/13-injured-as-palestinian-police-clash-with-gunmen-in-nablus/.

[72] Adam Rasgon, “PA Official: Top Suspect in Killing of Two PA Officers Arrested and Beaten to Death,” Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Top-suspect-in-killing-of-two-PA-officers-arrested-and-beaten-to-death-464841.

[73] “Mass Protests in West Bank City After Palestinian Detainee Dies,” ReutersAugust 23, 2016, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-palestinians-nablus-death-idUKKCN10Y1FM.

[74] Adam Rasgon, “Suspected Palestinian Drug Trafficker Killed in Gunfight with PA Forces,” Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2018, https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Suspected-Palestinian-drug-trafficker-killed-in-gunfight-with-PA-forces-540449

[75] Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, “Examination of the List of Fatalities in the ‘Return Marches’ Reveals That Most of Them Are Operatives of Terrorist Organizations,” January 21, 2019, https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/examination-list-fatalities-return-marches-reveals-operatives-terrorist-organizations-half-affiliated-hamas/

[76] Middle East Media Research Institute Special Dispatch No. 7322, “Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Establish ‘Yasser Arafat’ Military Base in Gaza, Announces: No One Will Take the Weapons of Resistance From Us, Fatah is True Path of Armed Struggle,” February 8, 2018, https://www.memri.org/reports/%20al-aqsa-brigades-establish-%27yasser%20arafat%27-base-in-gaza

[77] “Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations."

[78] Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, “Al Qaeda Affiliate Jaish al-Islam Receives Formal Sanctuary In Hamas-Ruled Gaza,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Jerusalem Issue Brief 8, no. 7, August 20, 2008, http://jcpa.org/article/al-qaeda-affiliate-jaish-al-islam-receives-formal-sanctuary-in-hamas-ruled-gaz/.

[79] Bill Roggio, “US Designates Palestinian Salafist Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” Long War Journal, May 19, 2011, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/05/us_designates_palest.php.

[80] Roggio, “US Designates Palestinian Salafist Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

[81] “SOCOM-2012-0000008,” Combating Terrorism Center, n.d., http://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/socom-2012-0000008-english.

[82] Wikileaks, “Frances Townsend's November 12 Meeting With Isa Chief Diskin Focuses On The Palestinians,” November 24, 2006, http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06TELAVIV4603.html.

[83] David Barnett, “Gaza-Based Salafi Jihadists Conduct Joint Rocket Attacks, Sinai Jihadists Suppressed,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, November 22, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2012/11/salafi-jihadist_groups_in_gaza.php.

[84] David Barnett, “Report Provides Insight on Israeli View of Salafi Jihadists in Sinai,” Long War Journal, August 20, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/08/report_provides_insi.php.; Barak Ravid, “Shin Bet Forms New Unit to Thwart Attacks on Israel by Sinai Jihadists,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), August 20, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.542417.

[85] Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, “Jaysh al-Islam in Gaza: Exclusive Interview,” aymennjawad.org, January 25, 2019, http://www.aymennjawad.org/2019/01/jaysh-al-islam-in-gaza-exclusive-interview

[86] Amos Harel, “Hamas Arrests and Tortures Salafi Militants to Curb Gaza Rocket Fire Into Israel,” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), December 19, 2017. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-hamas-tortures-salafis-militants-to-curb-rocket-fire-into-israel-1.5629017.

[87] “Pro Al-Qaeda Fighters Train in Gaza Strip,” Reuters, September 1, 2008, http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/09/01/55828.html.

[88] Yoram Cohen, Matthew Levitt, and Becca Wasser, Deterred but Determined: Salafi-Jihadi Groups in the Palestinian Arena (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, January 2010),;“Radical Islam in Gaza,” International Crisis Group, March 29, 2011, http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx;Jaysh Al-Ummah Official: Expect Military Operation In South Lebanon Directed At Israel,” NOW Lebanon, April 11, 2010, https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nownews/jaysh_al-ummah_official_expect_military_operation_in_south_lebanon_directed_at_israel.

[89] “Jaish Al Ummah To Hamas: ‘Whose Side Are You On?’” CBS News, May 27, 2009, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jaish-al-ummah-to-hamas-whose-side-are-you-on/.

[90] "Al-Rāyyah Foundation for Media Presents New Pictures From Jaysh al-Ummah: 'The Arrival of Goodness #3',"Jihadology, October 13, 2013, http://jihadology.net/2013/10/13/al-rayyah-foundation-for-media-presents-new-pictures-from-jaysh-al-ummah-the-arrival-of-goodness-3/.

[91] “Jaysh Al-Ummah Official: Expect Military Operation In South Lebanon Directed At Israel.”

[92] “Al Qaeda Conducted Attack Against Israel from Gaza,” Ma’ariv (Tel Aviv), September 2, 2008, http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/781/681.html.

[93] “Palestinian Faction Urges Help to Sunnis in Ahvaz, Iran, in Audio,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 17, 2013, https://news.siteintelgroup.com/index.php/19-jihadist-news/2658-palestinian-faction-urges-help-to-sunnis-in-ahvaz-iran-in-audio.

[94] “Palestinian Faction Supports Malian Jihadists, Calls for Attacks on West,” SITE Intelligence Group, January 22, 2013, http://news.siteintelgroup.com/index.php/19-jihadist-news/2678-palestinian-faction-supports-malian-jihadists-calls-for-attacks-on-west.

[95] David Barnett, “Gaza Jihadists Call for 'Jihad' Against Egypt's El Sisi,” Long War Journal, August 15, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/08/gaza_jihadists_call.php.

[96] David Barnett, “Gaza-Based Jaish al Ummah Praises Hakeemullah Mehsud,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, November 13, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/11/gaza-based_jaish_al_ummah_prai.php.

[97] “Mapping Palestinian Politics: Jaysh al-Umma (Gaza),” European Council on Foreign Relations, https://www.ecfr.eu/mapping_palestinian_politics/detail/jaysh_al_umma_gaza

[98] “Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Weekend Summary,” Middle East Media Research Institute, June 9, 2018, https://www.memri.org/reports/jihad-and-terrorism-threat-monitor-jttm-weekend-summary-305

[99] “About Us,” Hizb Ut Tahrir, n.d., http://english.hizbuttahrir.org/index.php/about-us.

[100] Jonathan Spyer, “Hizb ut-Tahrir: A Rising Force In Palestinian Territories,” Global Politician, December 14, 2007, https://web.archive.org/web/20120202204241/http://globalpolitician.com/23871-palestine.

[101] Isabel Kershner, “Palestinian Is Killed in Hebron as Police Disperse Protest Over Mideast Peace Talks,” New York Times, November 27, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/world/middleeast/28palestinians.html.

[102] Jonathan Spyer, “A ‘Rising Force,’” Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), June 12, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/932087.html.

[103] “Hizb Ut-Tahrir: PA Attempts Arrest Of Member,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), December 17, 2009, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=247723; “Hizb Ut-Tahrir: PA Arrests Thousands,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), July 17, 2010, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=300222.

[104] “PA Arrests 13 Islamists in Crackdown,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), July 15, 2011, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=405427.

[105] “Hizb ut-Tahrir Accuses PLO of Betrayal,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), August 13, 2011, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=412772.

[106] Khaled Abu Toameh, “Radical Islam Arrives in Ramallah,” Gatestone Institute, June 5, 2013, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3751/radical-islam-ramallah; “Hizb al-Tahrir Holds West Bank [107] Festival,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), June 17, 2012, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=496157.

[108] “Group Says PA Arrested Dozens of Its Members Over Abbas Criticism,” Ma’an News Agency (Ramallah), February 9, 2014, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=672063.

[109] “Mapping Palestinian Politics: Hizb ut-Tahrir,” European Council on Foreign Relations, https://www.ecfr.eu/mapping_palestinian_politics/detail/hizb_ut_tahrir; Hizb ut-Tahrir Central Media Office, http://www.hizb-ut-tahrir.info/en/index.php/press-releases/palestine.html

[110] David Barnett, “Mujahideen Shura Council is Consolidation of Salafi-Jihadist Groups in Gaza: Sources,” Long War Journal, October 14, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/10/mujahideen_shura_cou.php.

[111] David Barnett, “Mujahideen Shura Council Leader Slams Hamas, Calls for Public Dialogue,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, November 9, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2012/11/mujahideen_shura_council_leade.php.

[112] Ibid.; David Barnett, “Gaza-Based Salafi Jihadists Conduct Joint Rocket Attacks, Sinai Jihadists Suppressed,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, November 22, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2012/11/salafi-jihadist_groups_in_gaza.php.

[113] Thomas Joscelyn, “Al Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Responsibility for Attack in Israel,” Long War Journal, June 19, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/06/al_qaeda-linked_grou.php.

[114] Bill Roggio, “Mujahideen Shura Council Calls Attack in Israel a ‘Gift’ to Zawahiri and Al Qaeda ‘Brothers,’” Long War Journal, July 30, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/07/egyptian_jihadist_gr.php.

[115] David Barnett, “Mujahideen Shura Council: We Are Not Truly a Party to the Ceasefire with Israel,” Long War Journal, November 27, 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/11/mujahideen_shura_cou_2.php.

[116] David Barnett, “Jihadist Media Unit Urges Fighters to Strike Egyptian Army,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, September 23, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/09/jihadist_media_unit.php; David Barnett, “Jihadist Media Unit Releases Posters for Palestinian Fighters Killed in Syria,” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, October 1, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/10/jihadist_media_unit_releases_p.php.

[117] Lihi Ben Shitrit & Mahmoud Jaraba, “The Threat of Jihadism in the West Bank,” Sada: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 6, 2014. http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/54455.

[118] “Terrorist Designation of the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC),” U.S. Department of State, August 19, 2014, https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/266549.htm

[119] David Barnett, “Popular Resistance Committees Calls on Hamas to Stop Arrests of 'Mujahideen,’” Long War Journal – Threat Matrix, July 22, 2013, http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/07/popular_resistance_committees.php.

[120] Jonathan Schanzer and Grant Rumley, “Iran Spawns New Jihadist Group in Gaza,” Long War Journal, June 18, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/06/by_jonathan_schanzer.php.

[121] “Gaza Militant Dies in Apparent Explosives Accident,” Times of Israel, May 26, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/gaza-militant-dies-in-apparent-explosives-accident/.

[122] Al-Sabireen, “Our Charter,” n.d., http://alsabireen.ps/ar/page/4/%D9%87%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%A7

[123] Ehud Yaari, “Replacing Hamas,” Foreign Affairs, September 28, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/palestinian-authority/2015-09-28/replacing-hamas.

[124] Ibid.

[125] Adnan Abu Amer, “Why Hamas Closed Down Iranian Charity in Gaza,” Al Monitor, March 22, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/gaza-hamas-shut-down-iran-affiliated-charity.html.

[126] Yaari, “Replacing Hamas”; “Middle East: Iran Back Into Gaza,” Amad, October 25, 2015,http://www.amad.ps/ar/?Action=Details&ID=95441

[127] Khaled Abu Toameh, “Analysis: Iran Infiltrates the West Bank,” Jerusalem Post, February 9, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Iran-Infiltrates-the-West-Bank-444352.;  “Palestinian Security Sources: The “Patient” Movement Seeks to Stretch from Gaza to the West,” Amad, May 2, 2016, http://www.amad.ps/ar/?Action=Details&ID=109775

[128] Grant Rumley, “Trump Administration Designates Iranian-Spawned Jihadist Faction in Gaza,” Long War Journal, January 31, 2018, https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2018/01/trump-administration-designates-iranian-spawned-jihadist-faction-in-gaza.php

[129] Khaled Abu Toameh, “‘Corruption Will Let Hamas Take W. Bank,’” Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2010, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Corruption-will-let-Hamas-take-W-Bank.

[130] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (71),” April 2019, https://www.pcpsr.org/sites/default/files/Poll%2071%20English%20full%20text%20March%202019.pdf

[131] Hazem Balousha, “Gazans Unimpressed By Hamas Military Parades,” Al Monitor, November 20, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/11/hamas-islamic-jihad-military-parade-gaza-crisis.html.

[132] Neri Zilber, “Hamas on the Ropes,” Foreign Policy, June 26, 2016, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/06/26/hamas-on-the-ropes/.

[133] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (70),” December 18, 2018, http://www.pcpsr.org/sites/default/files/Poll%2070%20English%20full%20text%2024%20Dec%202018.pdf

[134] Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (71),” April 2019, https://www.pcpsr.org/sites/default/files/Poll%2071%20English%20full%20text%20March%202019.pdf

[135] Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 110-111.

[136] Miriam Berger and Heidi Levine, “Christians Under Siege: Gaza’s Christians Blocked From Visiting Birthplace of Jesus,” The National, December 23, 2018, https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/christmas-under-siege-gaza-s-christians-blocked-from-visiting-birthplace-of-jesus-1.805691

[137] “Abbas’s Security Forces Use Batons to ‘Brutally Beat’ Hamas Protestors in Hebron,” Times of Israel, December 14, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-security-forces-use-batons-to-beat-hamas-protesters-in-west-bank/

[138] Neri Zilber and Ghaith al-Omari, State with No Army, Army with No State: The Evolution of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces 1994-2018 (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, March 2018), pp. 57-59, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PolicyFocus154-ZilberOmari.pdf.

[139] Peter Beaumont, “No Obvious Alternative to Hamas in Gaza, Says Top Israeli General,” Guardian (London), May 12, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/12/idf-no-alternative-to-hamas-in-gaza-top-israeli-general-turgeman-war.

[140] Neri Zilber, “Israel and Gaza Go to War Despite Themselves,” The Daily Beast, November 13, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/israel-and-gaza-go-to-war-despite-themselves

[141] Neri Zilber, “How Gaza Became Hell on Earth,” The Daily Beast, May 15, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-gaza-became-hell-on-earth

[142] “Abbas Swears In New PA Government Led By His Fatah Ally, Mohammad Shtayyeh,” Times of Israel, April 13, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-swears-in-new-pa-government-led-by-his-fatah-ally-mohammad-shtayyeh/