PA Factions Use Social Networks in their War Against Each Other

In the wake of the riots in Egypt, which were largely organized through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, it turns out that Facebook is also an important tool in the war between the factions in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Fatah.

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Gaza-based youths recently began an online campaign through the social networks, with the purpose of organizing demonstrations against the Hamas extremist regime in Gaza, similar to the demonstrations that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen.

The Fatah organization, which rules in the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria and which has long been at war with Hamas, claimed that 8,000 people have joined the online group so far and that the revolution in Gaza could begin any moment.

Hamas, in response, launched its own campaign on its website, calling for Arab citizens in Fatah-controlled areas to begin a revolution to overthrow PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The war between the two sides escalated after Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Reconciliation attempts have been made several times, the last meeting having taken place last November in Syria.

Meanwhile, sources in Israel’s defense establishment said on Thursday that the Hamas leadership is being cautious and is closely monitoring the developments in Egypt, while avoiding, at this stage, taking a public stance in favor of either party involved in the conflict. The sources said that Hamas is interested in toppling the regime in Egypt, but fears that should Mubarak’s regime survive, it will later take revenge on Hamas. Reporters were barred from pro-Egyptian overthrow demonstrations in Gaza.

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The sources added that Hamas has adopted strict security measures along the Philadelphi Route (the route located along the border between Gaza and Egypt which was abandoned by Israel in 2005 during the “disengagement” from Gaza). These include having local media outlets affiliated with Hamas closely tracking violent incidents in Rafah and El-Arish. Hamas has made it clear that there is no fear of a shortage of food and fuel in Gaza and that the smuggling of goods through the underground tunnels will continue (this despite reports earlier this week that the tunnels have been shut down due to the riots in Egypt).

Meanwhile, it has also been reported that Hamas is assisting terrorists who have escaped from Egyptian prisons in returning to the Strip. Israel fears that Gaza-based terrorists will seek to exploit the events in Egypt in order to smuggle weapons and terrorists through the Sinai Peninsula; however, it seems as though at the moment Hamas leaders are being careful not to make it appear as though they are trying to exploit the situation in Egypt in order to promote terrorism. But Israeli sources believe that Hamas providing help to escaped prisoners is proof that it is waiting for an opportunity to commit acts of terrorism.


Source material can be found at this site.

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