Iran Is Building “Hamastan” in Gaza


Vol. 6, No. 23     March 11, 2007

  • There is a growing strategic alliance between Iran and the radical Palestinian forces in the territories. Hamas says it will build its society, economy, and army with the help of the Islamic world, mainly Iran, instead of the West.
  • Iran is involved in supporting both the Islamic factions and Fatah, as well. Today, at least 40 percent of Fatah’s different fighting groups are also paid by Hizbullah and Iran.
  • Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh does not speak from the parliament. Rather, he makes his declarations from the mosque every Friday. The Arabs are very aware of the images they project. The head of the government preaching from the mosque creates the image of a new caliphate being built inside Gaza.
  • Hamas thinks it can build a new southern Lebanon in Gaza, and this is what it is busy doing. Hamas is seeking to build anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems that will neutralize Israel’s current ability to easily penetrate Gaza, by using new kinds of missiles that were used in Lebanon.
  • Hamas is also trying to fortify the cities in Gaza in which it has its main rocket and weapons factories. If Israel again attacks deep into Gaza, Hamas hopes to confront it with something like what was seen in southern Lebanon – reserves of Hizbullah dug in deep under the earth.
  • The IDF will have to enter Gaza in a very wide-scale operation in the next year, if not in the next six months. The IDF prefers not to enter Gaza because of the high cost in Israeli casualties, but Israel has to defend its citizens. The big question is whether to do it now or wait, like Israel did in Lebanon – and look at the results.


The Growing Influence of Iran

There is a growing strategic alliance between Iran and the radical Palestinian forces in the territories. Iran is seeking to surround Israel from three sides – from the north, by rebuilding Hizbullah; from the West Bank, which has not been successful so far; and from Gaza.

Hamas feels that it has succeeded in breaking the siege that the Western world tried to put on it, and that it does not have to respond to the demands of the West. Hamas says that instead of depending on the West, it will build its society, economy, and army with the help of the Islamic world, mainly Iran. Iran is sending weapons and experts to Hamas, and is also training Hamas security forces. Hamas members are being trained in Iran, where they are learning various aspects of guerilla and terrorist warfare.

Iran is involved in supporting both the Islamic factions and Fatah, as well. Today, at least 40 percent of Fatah’s different fighting groups are also paid by Hizbullah and Iran. Many Fatah members are sitting on the fence. They don’t know which side to take and, in the meantime, Hamas is growing stronger with money sent from Damascus and Iran.

Egypt had sent 100 experts to Gaza half a year ago, but today only two generals are left, and even they prefer to spend most of their time in Tel Aviv, for their own safety.

 

Two Different Palestinian States

We are seeing the formation of two Palestinian “states” that behave differently – one in Gaza and the other in the West Bank.

Look at how the new Hamas leadership rules in Gaza. Prime Minister Haniyeh does not speak from the parliament, a five-minute drive f

Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari is a Senior Research Scholar with the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. He served in the territories for twenty years as a senior advisor on Palestinian affairs for Israel's Defense Ministry.