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IMMINENT WARNING: PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WARNS OF HAMAS COUP IN WEST BANK

May 08, 2023

Benedetta Bisaccia, Christine Saddy, Ludovica Leccese, CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team

Álvaro Picón, Evan Beachler, Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


West Bank[1]


Event: On May 8, 2023, the Palestinian Authority (PA) warned that Hamas might plan to “stage a coup”[2] against it in the West Bank, similar to the one it carried out in the Gaza Strip in 2007. The warning came amid a rise in Hamas activities and attacks in the West Bank. Hamas is said to operate in several parts of the West Bank and may use its armed cells across the territory to undermine the PA and security forces. Last Friday, a Hamas-affiliated preacher from the Gaza Strip incited Palestinians in the West Bank to collect information on the PA security officers suspected of cooperating with Israel, confirming Hamas’ goal of extending its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.[3]


Significance: The warning that Hamas may be planning to stage a coup against the PA in the West Bank raises the possibility of a violent conflict between Hamas and the PA, likely leading to further instability in the region. A coup in the West Bank will very likely give Hamas control over a significant portion of Palestinian territory beyond the Gaza Strip. This will likely have far-reaching implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, likely leading to increased violence against Israel. There is a roughly even chance that Hamas’ control of a significant portion of Palestinian territory will embolden other extremist groups in the region, very likely increasing instability in the Middle East. The recent rise in Hamas' military activities in the West Bank, with its claims of responsibility for terror attacks in the region, very likely suggests that Hamas is actively seeking to challenge the PA's authority and creating concerns about a potentially violent confrontation. The international community is likely to view a Hamas takeover of the West Bank as a major setback to peace and stability in the region.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that the Israeli government and the PA inform Palestinian citizens of the predicted coup and its imminent threat. Both governments should deploy heavy security measures on the West Bank to prevent Hamas from gaining momentum and support. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) should closely monitor social media platforms and cooperate with the PA to gather intelligence regarding Hamas’ activities. ​​

  • CTG recommends that the PA take proactive measures to curb Hamas’ activities and prevent a coup by increasing security measures and intelligence gathering to disrupt Hamas’ plans. The PA should address any grievances that may drive support for Hamas among the Palestinian population.

  • CTG recommends that the international community sends humanitarian aid, including food, medicines, and goods, to help Palestinians living near the West Bank and seeking to escape and avoid retaliatory rocket fire.

  • CTG recommends monitoring the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, given their rivalry with Hamas. This could prevent the escalation of violence among these groups and help maintain stability in the region.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

 

[2] PA fears Hamas planning West Bank ‘coup’, The Jerusalem Post, May 2023, https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-742405

[3] PA fears Hamas planning West Bank ‘coup’, The Jerusalem Post, May 2023, https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-742405

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