Hamas members take part in a rally 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Hamas is getting stronger in the West Bank, but is focusing its activities on
indoctrinating Palestinians in its extremist ideology and creating social
assistance programs, an IDF source said Sunday.
The West Bank branch of
Hamas is focused on Da’wa – social aid programs mixed with indoctrination – in
order to build up its base of supporters, the source from the Judea and Samaria
It is also preoccupied with a program called “Kutla,”
which entails recruiting university students by spreading jihadi ideology among
them, according to the source.
A year after the release of 1,027
Palestinian prisoners in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, fears
that the release would lead to a substantial increase in terrorism have been
proven false, the source said.
“The threat has been contained in the West
Bank,” he said, largely due to restrictions on the prisoners and Israel’s
intelligence capabilities in the area. “What we’re seeing is that the
Palestinian public is preoccupied with itself. Terrorism could resurface [in the
future], but the prisoner release had no special influence,” he
Former prisoners in the West Bank must stay in their local areas
for three years, and cannot cross into Israel for the next decade. They must
also report to the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria on a regular
In Gaza, however, the prisoners have joined Hamas’s efforts to
channel funds to its cells in the West Bank, particularly in the area between
Nablus and Jenin. Millions of shekels in terror financing have been seized by
security forces in the first half of 2012.
The deal has also increased
the chances of an attempt to kidnap soldiers for future prisoner
IDF forces under the Judea and Samaria Division have held drill
responses to the threat intensively. The army has also launched a campaign to
heighten awareness among soldiers to the threat of kidnapping.