Hamas

According to reports from the Gaza Strip, Hamas is stealing the humanitarian supplies which are being trucked in and selling them to the residents of Gaza. On Monday a convoy of trucks was attacked by Hamas gunmen and the supplies seized. Hamas has also assassinated 6 men they claim were collaborating with Israel.

In the meantime, the Israeli army has uncovered a massive tunnel system underground in Gaza, used for hiding terrorists and their weapons, as well as smuggling and attempted kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

An interesting article on the origins of Hamas and its platform has been posted at Israel & the Middle East. An excerpt:

Hamas is both a terrorist organization and a mass social, political and religious movement. The military branch is reportedly divided into three wings: an intelligence arm which gathers information about Palestinians suspected of collaboration, an arm which pursues those who have violated Islamic law and the Izzedine al-Qassam squads who are responsible for most of the terror attacks. The al-Qassam squads are comprised of a few dozen activists loosely organized into small, shadowy terror cells, at times operating independently of each other. Hamas’ military and political leaders are based throughout the West Bank and Gaza and the organization maintains offices and representatives in Teheran, Damascus and Amman. The connections and levels of coordination between the military and political branches are concealed.

The division of Hamas into military and political/social wings has led many observers to erroneously assume that the social wing of Hamas is completely separate from its military wing. However, funds raised for the social programs of Hamas free up other funds for the military wing and there is no open accounting system whereby the international community can ascertain whether or not the social wing finances the military wing.  For instance, so-called humanitarian donations reward the families of Hamas suicide bombers.

While all this is going on, the Bush administration is working on a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The initiative, which is backed by Egypt, calls for no more rocket attacks from Gaza to Israel,opening of the border crossings into Gaza and a halt to the smuggling from Egypt into Gaza. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has supported this proposal, while Israel has not responded.

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