Hamas: What now?

MEMRI president Yigel Carmon held a Capitol Hill briefing on Hamas’s strategy after the Palestinian elections today. A summary of the briefing is available here. We recently noted the tremendous success of MEMRI’s video clip of Dr. Wafa Sultan confronting the Egptian Islamic guru on Al Jazeera. Coincidentally, reader Karin McQuillan wrote us yesterday:

Thanks very much for linking to the TV clip of Wafa Sultan on the MEMRI website. I have been follwing the story every since with great interest.

I am a long-time supporter of MEMRI and was sure 3 million hits (as of today) would help win them the financial support they deserve. Instead, when I requested permission to download the clip (so I can play it over and over), one of their staffers told me they may have to pull it off the internet, as they don’t have the funds to keep it up!!!! They operate on a shoestring budget, when less important groups are rolling in donations. Maybe because they don’t throw socialite parties. Yigal gets a school teacher’s salary for his hundred hour weeks, and sleeps in the office when he is in the US. Can you help by doing a follow-up, and mentioning they need money? We wouldn’t know what was going on in Arabic except for this one organization.

You can contribute to MEMRI here.

It’s been a long time since we linked to DEBKAfile. DEBKA is now reporting:

Hamas leaders decided Thursday, March 16, to form a government without the defeated Fatah and its leader, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. They are aware that Abbas is preparing an “ambush” for them and intends to announce the dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council and call for new elections in a few months. If Abbas pursues this course, Hamas intends to beat him to the punch: using its majority in the PLC, it will announce new elections for the PA chairmanship. Hamas already has a candidate for the job whom they believe capable of defeating Abbas handily.

The Islamic organization plans a government of 24 ministers, with only five from Hamas, prime minister, foreign minister, interior minister, finance minister and education minister. Hamas leaders refused to make any substantial changes in their positions to meet Fatah conditions for joining the Palestinian government.

The main thrust of their political efforts now focuses on guaranteeing a two-thirds majority in the PLC, i.e. 88 out of 132 seats needed to stop Abbas from calling a new election in six to eight months. Hamas already has 74 seats, plus nine members of allied factions. It still needs to secure the support of five more.

Sure to play a significant role in the politics of Hamastan is the success of the Israeli raid on the Jericho prison yesterday. Today YNETNews reports: “Zeevi killers had it good in Jericho prison.” See also the Jerusalem Post report by Khaled Abu Toameh: “Palestinian affairs: Airing their dirty linen in public.” Stay tuned.

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