Daily Israel Report

Egypt a Battleground for Hamas, Fatah Feuding

As war of words between rival factions mount, seized documents "reveal Fatah plans to incite against Hamas," says top PA academic.
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/8/2013, 11:36 AM

Muslim Brotherhood supporters
Muslim Brotherhood supporters
Reuters

Egypt has emerged as a battlefield between the Hamas and Fatah terror groups in their ongoing struggle for control of the Palestinian Authority, according to a top Palestinian Authority academic.

Adnan Abu Amer, writing on the web site AlMonitor, addressed accusations by Hamas that top PA officials collaborated to blacken Hamas' reputation among Egypt's military leaders, saying that such reports were at least partially confirmed by documents seized by Hamas from a Fatah operative.

According to Abu Amer, the documents show that Fatah officials had a plan to incite Egyptian authorities against Hamas, which had been trying to keep its distance from the Muslim Brotherhood and ex-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as military leaders began to press him to resign before deposing him.

The Hamas accusation follows claims by Fatah against the Gaza terror group, alleging that it used its media outlets – television, radio, and newspapers – to encourage Egyptians to support Morsi, even as the army was trying to force him out.

According to Hamas, a committee of Fatah officials in the PA embassy in Egypt were involved in various projects aimed at turning Egypt's military leaders against Hamas. One document quoted by Abu-Amer that Hamas said it had confiscated from the computer of a Fatah operative said that the committee sought “to accuse the [Izz ad-Din] al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, of protecting the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Dr. Mohammed Badie, during his first [post-coup] appearance, which happened on the stage in Rabia al-Adawiyya Square.”

Another document, according to Hamas, shows that the committee fabricated news stories for broadcast on Egyptian television, aimed at embarrassing Hamas. In one story, Hamas was accused of planning to kidnap and kill Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, as part of a Hamas plan “to drag the Egyptian army into an escalation with Israel.”

In addition, Hamas claims that Fatah engaged in violence in Egypt and tried to blame it on Hamas. One of the documents says that the committee “has obtained four bombs with 'Qassam Brigades' printed on them from a relative of his working with the brigades in Gaza.” It is not clear if those bombs were ever used, however.

Fatah has denied Hamas' claims, with a Fatah spokesperson saying that Hamas was making up the stories as part of the organization's panic at having lost its Egyptian patron.

Hamas has called for PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to set up a committee to investigate the matter.