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PLO and Hamas

(The neutrality of this article is disputed.)

It has been claimed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO at times have been unofficially allied with the terrorist network Hamas.

  • Yassir Arafat stated 'There is no confrontation with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.' (United Press International, September 12, 1996)

  • PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein[?] stated: 'The PA and the [Hamas] opposition complement each other.. .We regard Hamas and Islamic Jihad as national elements.. .The main enemy, now and forever, is Israel.' (An Nahar, April 11, 1995; Al Quds, April 14, 1995)

  • Col. Jibril Rajoub[?], chief of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service, said in a May 27, 1998 interview with Al-Jazira television: "We view Hamas as part of the national and Islamic liberation movement. Outside of the 3 percent [of the West Bank that is under complete PA control] they can do as they wish. They can go to Jordan to carry out armed operations and they can also carry out such operations from Syria. At the top of my list of priorities is the [Israeli] occupation and not Hamas. We are not interested in arrests."

  • Yassir Arafat said 'Hamas, even its military wing, is a patriotic movement.' (The Russian newspaper Novoya Vremy, May 25, 1997).

  • Yassir Arafat publicly praised Yiyhe Ayyash[?], the master Hamas bomb-maker who killed at least 60 Israelis, as 'a martyr.' (Jerusalem Post, July 28, 1996)

  • Arafat's Foreign Minister, Farouk Kaddoumi[?], said: 'Hamas is part of the national movement and it has its own style and approach to action. It is resisting the Israeli enemy.' (An Nahar, March 9, 1996) Kaddoumi also stated: 'No one can complain about what Hamas and Jihad are doing. I say that it is the right of every Palestinian to struggle so long as there is a single Israeli soldier in the land of Palestine.' (Al Musawar, September 30, 1994)

  • Yassir Arafat publicly praised Hamas bomb-maker Yiyhe Ayyash[?] as 'the struggler, the martyr.' (New York Times, January 8, 1996)

  • PA Cabinet Minister Hanan Ashrawi[?] said: 'It is not up to Israel to decide or define who is our enemy. Hamas is not the enemy, it is part of the political fabric.' (Jerusalem Post, July 25, 1995)

  • Abbas Zakai of the Fatah Central Committee said: '[Hamas's attacks] strengthen the Palestinian position... It would be dangerous to stop these actions, because the accords will crumble if there is nothing to make Israel go forward.' (Al Hayat, April 17, 1995)

  • PA Cabinet Minister Nabil Sha'ath[?] said: 'We have a brotherly relationship with Hamas.' (Reuters, Oct. 28, 1994)

  • Hisham Abdel-Rizak[?], Fatah leader in Gaza, said: 'The dialogue with Hamas will not be broken off. Hamas is part of the Palestinian people.' (United Press International, Oct. 28, 1994)

  • Arafat named a public square in Jericho after Hamas bomb-maker Yiyha Ayyash[?], and publicly praising Ayyash as 'holy.'

  • Arafat praised Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as 'my brother Ahmed Yassin the warrior.' (New York Times, July 2, 1994)

  • Yassir Arafat named Imad Falouji[?], a Hamas leader, as a Minister Without Portfolio. Arafat chose Talal Sidr[?], a Hamas activist from Hebron, as Minister of Youth. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 1997)

  • In June 1998, PA Secretary Tayeb Abdel Rahim[?] announced that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were being invited to formally join Arafat's cabinet. (The two groups declined the invitation). (Associated Press, June 13, 1998)

  • A unidentified Hamas official calling himself "Abu Husām" claimed a joint operational center was established by Hamas and Fatah, PLO's military wing. (Interview in an Emirate newspaper "El-Biyan", as reported by Ynet on July 29th, 2002)

  • In late 2001 and early 2002, the PA shut down a number of Hamas offices, and arrested a number of mid-level Hamas activists. Some observers found this insufficient, claiming it had no effect upon Hamas' activities, and that the measures were only taken under US and Israeli pressure.

Israeli domestic press have reported some signs of joint activities:

  • Ninety Hamas members were hired to man the PA police force's 'vice department' (Jerusalem Times, November 25, 1994.)

  • In local elections in the West Bank, Arafat's Fatah faction has campaigned on joint lists with Hamas. (Jerusalem Times, June 23, 1995)

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