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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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An official document being negotiated by the U.S., Israel, Egypt, the EU and other players currently grants Hamas a role in patrolling Gaza Strip’s borders, according to an Egyptian intelligence official familiar with the draft document.

The stated purpose of the future patrols, set to follow Israel’s recent offensive in Gaza, is to prevent Hamas rearming in the territory.

The document is set to be issued by Egypt, but the U.S., Israel and the EU are heavily involved in the draft text, which would likely grant legitimacy to Hamas’s role in Gaza. Both the U.S. and EU officially classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

“There is an understanding of all powers involved that Hamas must play a role, that without Hamas there can be no cross-border agreement,” the Egyptian intelligence official told WorldNetDaily. “So, yes, indirectly the U.S. and Israel admit that Hamas is a player and must be taken into consideration in any political arrangement.

“It will be an Egyptian paper. The U.S. and Israel can then say it’s just Egypt that recognizes Hamas, but this is not true,” the official said.

One of Israel’s main goals in its offensive was to hamper Hamas’s ability to smuggle weapons across the Egypt-Gaza border. Israel is negotiating an international monitoring mechanism it hopes will stop Hamas from smuggling weapons. But previous international monitors stationed along the Egypt-Gaza border fled their duty and repeatedly failed to stem Hamas’s weapons smuggling. The monitors were stationed at the border following Israel’s 2005 evacuation of the Gaza Strip.

U.S. Training Egyptians To
Detect Hamas Tunnels

Egyptian troops are undergoing training in Texas on the use of American military technology to uncover Hamas weapons smuggling tunnels, this column has learned.

Egyptian troops arrived in Texas in recent days, where they have been undergoing private courses on the use of secretive U.S. technology that makes use of sonar and certain frequencies to locate underground tunnels, according to informed security sources. Also, the intelligence official said a team from the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers recently arrived in the Egyptian Sinai desert, bringing the advanced machinery with it.

Hamas, Alive And Functioning

Contrary to Israel’s claims that it severely damaged the Hamas government in Gaza, the terrorist organization has resumed governing and is acting at about 85 percent capacity, according to both Hamas officials and human rights activists in Gaza.

Fully functioning in Gaza are Hamas’s interior ministry, court system, ministry of transportation, education, police, health services and scores of other official institutions, the Hamas officials and activists from the independent Al Mizan human rights organization said. Other sources in Gaza confirmed this assessment.

Improvising following Israeli air raids that targeted Hamas institutions, the group currently bases its new government infrastructure in dozens of apartments within civilian complexes. The move could complicate Israeli efforts to target Hamas in the future.

Speaking in a joint interview with this column and the Israeli Ynet website, one Hamas official said his group recently made back-up copies of government files for storage within apartment buildings.

Fatah Praises Members For Fighting Israel

The U.S.-backed Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week passed a resolution commending its members for purportedly fighting against Israel alongside Hamas in the Gaza Strip during the past three weeks.

At an official meeting attended by Abbas in Ramallah, Fatah’s Central Committee, the group’s most powerful body, resolved: “We appreciate the armed resistance of the Al Aqsa Marytrs Brigades [Fatah's declared military wing] against Israeli aggression and war. We honor the sacrifice of our martyrs of our fighters in Gaza and appreciate the fact they put aside political differences with Hamas, and fought side-by-side, arm-by-arm with their brothers in Hamas.”

This statement, however, is mostly untrue, according to multiple sources in Fatah, Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Hamas placed roughly 95 percent of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip under house arrest during the conflict, fearing that the rival group would work with Israel, according to both Fatah and Hamas sources.

The sources said many of the Al Aqsa leaders were released from house arrest earlier this week and that Fatah gunmen have since been involved in shooting some rockets from Gaza aimed at nearby Jewish communities.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”

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About the Author: Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m (CHANGE TO 7-9 p.m.). His website is KleinOnline.com


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