Hamas: Israel waging 'dirty war'

Haniyeh accuses PA of participating in Israeli action against Hamas-affiliated institutions in W. Bank.

Haniyeh  224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Haniyeh 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel's decision to clamp down on Hamas-affiliated institutions in the West Bank has drawn strong condemnations from the movement's leaders. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused Israel on Wednesday of waging a "dirty war" against Hamas. He also accused the Palestinian Authority of "participating" in the Israeli campaign. Haniyeh pointed out that the PA leadership in Ramallah had already closed more than 100 charities in the West Bank on suspicion that they were linked to Hamas. In recent days the IDF closed several Hamas-affiliated institutions, including a shopping mall in Nablus. The move is aimed at undermining Hamas's influence and destroying its infrastructure in the West Bank. Haniyeh said that altogether the IDF closed 37 institutions in Ramallah and Nablus since the beginning of the week. "This is an ugly crime against humanity," Haniyeh said, adding that most of the institutions were charities that provided for the needy. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called on all Palestinian factions to resist the Israeli measures in the West Bank. However, he and other Hamas leaders stopped short of threatening to end the three-week-old truce in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas won't spare any effort to defend its institutions," Abu Zuhri said. "Hamas won't allow these Israeli crimes to pass without a response." The Hamas spokesman called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to halt all forms of cooperation between his security forces and the IDF in the West Bank. "The Palestinian security forces are involved in the Israeli war against our institutions," Abu Zuhri said. "Israel is continuing what [PA Prime Minister] Salaam Fayad began when he ordered the closure of many charities in the West Bank. "This is a conspiracy designed to undermine Hamas and eliminate its presence in the West Bank. But it won't succeed." Hamas legislator Samira Halaykeh also accused Abbas's security forces of collusion with Israel to close the West Bank institutions. "The Palestinian Authority hasn't done anything to stop the Israeli measures," she said. "On the contrary, the Palestinian security forces are providing Israel with the information and are also involved in the campaign. These institutions are being shut only because they are run by Hamas supporters." The Hamas charges against Abbas's authority coincide with Egyptian and Syrian efforts to end the fissure between the two parties. A Hamas delegation that arrived in Cairo earlier this week was expected to discuss with Egyptian government officials a number of proposals to end the dispute with Fatah. The delegation is also scheduled to hold talks on reaching an agreement over a prisoner exchange with Israel. Mushir al-Masri, another Hamas spokesman, said the latest Israeli measures were likely to hurt efforts to achieve reconciliation with Fatah. He also pointed out that Abbas's refusal to meet with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal during his visit to Damascus earlier this week was a "severe blow" to the efforts to achieve "national unity."