In recent years, however, Hamas has found itself in the same position as the PA was back then.As a result of the barrage of rockets fired at Israel over the past week, Islamic Jihad has solidified its position at the expense of Hamas. As Abu Toameh now notes--Hamas no longer the major player in Gaza:
Now it’s the Islamic Jihad organization that has replaced Hamas as the second- largest armed group in the Gaza Strip. Today, it poses a serious challenge to the Hamas government.
With the help of Iran and Syria, Islamic Jihad has become a major player in the Palestinian arena. The organization’s leaders now visit Cairo and other Arab capitals, where they are received as VIPs.
Hailing the latest Egyptian-brokered truce as an “achievement,” Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, the two groups who were behind the rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, have proven that Hamas is no longer the major player in the Gaza Strip.This cannot bode well for Gazans, who as it is suffer from the rule of Hamas which current has been helpless to deal with the electrical failures in the country.
As of this week, Hamas will have to live with the fact that these two groups pose a challenge to the Islamist movement’s control over the Gaza Strip.
Until recently, Hamas had shown zero tolerance toward armed groups that defied its policies and rule. On a number of occasions, Hamas security forces did not hesitate to detain members of Islamic Jihad and the PRC who violated previous truces with Israel.
But now the rules of the game in the Gaza Strip appear to have changed. For the first time, Hamas refrained from taking action against the armed groups, instead seeking the help of the Egyptians in persuading Islamic Jihad and PRC to agree to halt their attacks.
By turning to the Egyptians, Hamas is in fact admitting that it no longer has influence over small armed groups operating in the Gaza Strip.
On the other hand, as Hamas declines in power and influence in Gaza, calls for the importance of Hamas participation in peace talks may appear more irrelevant.
Similarly, Abbas may find that a unity government with Hamas is no longer a pressing concern for maintaining and supporting his power--though by the same token, the growing power of Islamic Jihad may just drive the two into each others arms.
Bottom line, the influence of Iran in the region is maintained if not increased, as uncertainty--as always--is maintained.
Technorati Tag: Islamic Jihad and Gaza and Hamas.