Israel strikes Hamas target after rocket fired from Gaza
The IDF struck a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening after a rocket was fired at Israel from the Hamas-controlled enclave.
According to the army, the rocket fired from Gaza was aimed at Israel but exploded within the Gaza Strip. “Code red” sirens were sounded in some areas bordering the Gaza Strip.
In response, an IDF tank destroyed a Hamas watch tower in the south of the Gaza Strip.
According to an IDF statement, the rocket fire constituted a threat to Israeli citizens and an attack on the State of Israel’s sovereignty. Hamas is held responsible for all terrorist activity within the Gaza Strip, the statement said.
The exchange of fire comes after a spell of relative quiet on the Israel-Gaza border.
Recent weeks have witnessed new attempts by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to reconcile their differences and put an end to their long-running feud. Last week, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah chaired a meeting of the Palestinian cabinet in Gaza.
Suggestions that a successful attempt at reconciliation should involve the disarmament of Hamas have been rejected by the group. Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in a violent takeover in 2007 following Israel’s withdrawal from the territory two years before. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel to advance plans for over 3,000 settler homes next week
The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria is set to advance more than 3,000 settler homes next Monday and Tuesday when it convenes for the first time since June.
Israeli officials confirmed the date after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came under repeated fire from settler leaders – particularly Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan – who feared the meeting would not take place.
“There is no one more concerned about the settlements than Netanyahu and this will be proven next week,” an official said. “All attempts to distort reality are a crude lie.”
Channel 2, on Sunday night, estimated that plans for 3,829 housing units would be advanced and published a partial list.
This included: 102 for Negohot, 97 for Rehalim, 54 for Har Bracha, 86 for Kochav Ya’acov, 48 Ma’aleh Michmash, 158 for Kfar Etzion, 296 for Beit El, 206 for Tekoa, 129 for Avnei Hefetz and 120 for Nofim.
Settler leaders also have argued that Netanyahu must approve new roads and infrastructure projects, as well.
Last week, they sent him a signed letter with this demand.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have insisted that they can continue to build in Judea and Samaria, even though US President Donald Trump is engaged in efforts to jump-start a new peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The US State Department under President Donald Trump has continued to chastise Israel for continued building in West Bank settlements.
On Sunday, Dagan, who has been one of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the settlements spoke against the president’s team when addressing a visiting delegation of parliamentarians from 15 countries worldwide who are here as part of the Israel Allies Foundation’s annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference.
“We are pleased that Trump was elected but not satisfied with the direction that people around him are taking with regard to Judea and Samaria. He [Trump] has unfortunately received misinformation.
Help us stop the fantasy in which we are not allowed to build schools and kindergartens in Judea and Samaria.”
On Saturday night, Trump spoke about the peace process in an interview on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Christian television station. He appeared on a newly launched show hosted by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, whose daughter Sarah Sanders is the White House Press Secretary.
“I am very strong on Israel and I want to see if we can make peace. If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, I think it will lead to peace in the Middle East,” Trump said.
“Right now we are actually working on a plan that everyone says will never work because for many years it has never worked,” Trump said.
He admitted that it was possible his efforts could come to naught.
“Most people say it is an impossible deal, I don’t think it is impossible, I think it is something that can happen. I am not making any predictions, but I want to give that a shot,” he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Thousands of women call on Israeli, PA leaders to make peace
From the lowest place on earth – a barren sandy stretch of land in the West Bank near the Dead Sea – thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women gathered on Sunday to call on world leaders to make peace.
“I call on you Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu to end the conflict and enter negotiations until you reach an agreement,” called out Yahaloma Zchut. “And I want peace.”
She explained that her parents had come to Israel from Egypt in the 1950s and she was raising her family in Ofakim.
“We have the power and the courage to find the key to peace. Yes it is possible,” she said.
All the women in the tent chanted back: “Yes, it is.”
She was one of the dozens of speakers who stood on a makeshift stage under a large tent with large peace quilts hanging off the sides and spoke of their desire for peace.
Palestinian and Israeli women march, as part of an event organised by “Women Wage Peace” group
calling for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, near the Jordan River, in the West Bank
The event is part of a 16-day march from Israel’s South to North organized by the NGO, Women Wage Peace.
The group, which was created in 2014 in the aftermath of the Gaza war, has focused on the need for a solution to end the violence rather than holding one ideological line or another.
Most of the march was inside the Green Line, which meant the Palestinian participants could not take part.
However, Sunday’s event, and one last week in Gush Etzion, were in the West Bank, which allowed Palestinian woman to participate.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent the women a message of support, while Women in Gaza sent a message to the group saying: “We can’t accept the law of the jungle that is never ending. In such a game, there are no winners.”
An area in one of the tents was dedicated to the biblical matriarchal figures Sarah and Hagar and the idea that the Jewish and Muslim descendants of these women were now coming together. Pieces of artwork dedicated to peace were placed near the tent area.
Ruth Katz Klein, a Sinai evacuee, recreated the very large white dove she drew in the sand near the settlement of Yamit just before it was evacuated in 1982.
Israeli artist Adi Yekutieli displayed a 70 foot-high dress that was so large it was hung from a crane.
Yekutieli said he first pieced together the dress 10 years ago with the help of 500 women to highlight the issue of agunot, women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce.
Inspired by the topic of the march, he agreed to loan it to the women for their desert peace tent because its symbolism is about the greater cause of female empowerment, including the pursuit of peace.
“It is a really a symbol of unity, of support and empowerment,” Yekutieli said. (Jerusalem Post)
Anti-Israeli UNESCO resolutions postponed by half a year
There won’t be any anti-Israeli resolutions raised in the upcoming session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the chairman of the organization’s Executive Board worked to postpone in half a year two such votes.
In recent years, the Palestinians, with the help of Arab nations, have pushed for several anti-Israeli resolutions in UNESCO, including one that failed to recognize Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, one that rejected Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and one listing Hebron’s Old City—and with it the Cave of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.
But the fact there will be no anti-Israeli resolutions put to a vote in the coming UNESCO gathering is not due to the lac
Arab nations planned to push two resolutions on Jerusalem and Palestine—identical to resolutions passed six months ago—but the chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board, former German ambassador Michael Worbs, worked to postpone the vote by six months. The two resolutions will therefore not be voted on this year.
At the same time, Israel has been working to create a bloc of countries that would vote in support of the Jewish state. In October 2014, the pro-Israel camp included only the United States, but its ranks has since swollen to 10 nations.
Israel maintains that UNESCO is not the place for political decisions against the State of Israel or the Jewish people, and its official policy is that until the persecution against Israel in UNESCO stops, it will not hold talks concerning UNESCO’s mandate.
Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, said that “Until I hear the chairman hitting his gavel and declaring (the resolutions are postponed)—I won’t believe it is happening. Just in case, I will be writing two response speeches.”
He went on to say that while “It’s nice to hear resolutions are not being passed against you, for us even postponements are pointless.”
Nevertheless, he said, “At this point, we’ve decided to view it as a significant step towards stopping and completely erasing such resolutions. Pulling the resolutions and postponing them by at least half a year is encouraging—certainly when compared to the obsessive persecution of the State of Israel and the Jewish people—but it is not enough.”
“Time will tell if this is a tactical change or a change of attitude that points to significant progress toward cleaning house in the organization and putting a stop to the incitement and politicization against us,” Shama-Hacohen added.
“After the last few unpleasant years, I’d be happy to reach a point in which Israel and its neighbors can work positively in UNESCO and cooperate on education, culture and science as if there were no political conflicts. These conflicts should be left for the leaders in the relevant halls and rooms. Peace will not be achieved in UNESCO, but trust-building steps are possible, instead of dangerous incitement surrounding the most sensitive issue, the Temple Mount.” (Ynet News)
‘Palestine’ joins Interpol: What could possibly go wrong?
by Oliver Melnick World Net Daily
On Thursday, Sept. 28, Palestine was accepted as the newest member of INTERPOL. Interpol is the “International Criminal Police Organization,” which was started in 1923 with the goal of coordinating various world police forces and sharing intel across borders. In the second article of its constitution, Interpol states the reason for its existence: “To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’; To establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and suppression of ordinary law crimes.”
The creation of Interpol was needed and has resulted in the cooperation of worldwide police forces to fight international crime over the years, and that’s a good thing. But the recent addition of Palestine to the Interpol roster might be creating problems more than solving them. By admitting the “state” of Palestine, Interpol admits that Palestine exists as a state. That is its first mistake, and it creates a false premise for the rest of the process.
The geographical area known to the world as Israel that was renamed Palestine never ceased to be Israel. Until the 1960s the word “Palestine” was simply used to describe Israel, nothing more, nothing less. After the arrival on the Middle East scene of Yasser Arafat, Palestine took on a new meaning and became politically charged. A newly displaced people were created. A struggle was justified and terrorism popularized.
It took over 50 years of patient international nagging punctuated by regular acts of terrorism for Palestine to exist – exist in the mind of those who created it that is! But today, Palestine also exist in the politically correct, brainwashed minds of many people who would rather root for the fictional underdog instead of checking if that underdog has legitimate reasons to complain. So the question is no longer “Does Palestine exist?” but “How come Palestine isn’t recognized by more international agencies?”
Over the last few years, the Palestinian Authority managed to get recognized by about 50 world organizations, including the United Nations, UNESCO and the ICC (International Criminal Court), to name only a few. The moment the Nobel Peace Prize was given jointly to Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat was a defining moment for all those who understand the concept of peace. It made the Nobel Organization look like a bunch of fools and tarnished their reputation for good. Then, the inclusion of Palestine as a “Non-Member Observer State” at the United Nations in 2012 solidified the obvious bias the U.N. has had against Israel for several decades.
So it was only a matter of time before Interpol joined the others. Of the 192 countries belonging to Interpol, more than two-thirds voted in favor of the inclusion of Palestine. These were not only Arab countries. But to those who are interested in the facts, the integrity of the Palestinian Authority leaves a lot to be desired. Millions of donated funds have been used for the building of tunnels to infiltrate Israel illegally whenever possible and perform more acts of terrorism. Schools and hospitals in Gaza have been repeatedly used to hide weapons to use against Israel, not only ignoring the safety of Palestinian civilians but also using them as human shields.
By admitting Palestine as one of their new members, Interpol exposes itself to a corrupt body more interested in the complete destruction of Israel than in any international police cooperation. Sure, the Palestinian Authority might show good faith by sharing some intel that would lead to the arrest of a few Palestinians or other criminals, but that is most likely not its overall intention. In the meantime, it also gives the PA access to other intel that could be used to hurt Israel. How many of us really believe that the Palestinian Authority will “ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities” as stated in Interpol’s constitution? Instead, it will use its recent international vindication to further demonize Israel and the Jewish people.
It’s ironic that Interpol’s inclusion of Palestine would ignore its repeated violations of human rights and in the same breath declare in its constitution that their cooperative work is always done “in the spirit of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’” Seriously? By accepting Palestine as their newest member, Interpol will tarnish its reputation and further facilitate the Palestinian agenda of Israel’s annihilation. Now “Palestine” has the backing of an international body of police forces to fulfill that agenda, and don’t think for a that they won’t use it to their advantage!
Palestinians: A State Within a State?
by Khaled Abu Toameh The Gatestone Institute
The “reconciliation” accord they reached in Cairo paves the way for creating a state within a state in the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian-sponsored deal does not require Hamas to dismantle its security forces and armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam. Nor does the agreement require Hamas to lay down its weapons or stop amassing weapons and preparing for war.
This is a very comfortable situation for Hamas, which has effectively been absolved of any responsibility toward the civilian population. Hamas could not have hoped for a better deal. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be permitted to maintain its own security force, while Abbas’s government oversees civilian affairs and pays salaries to civil servants.
Offloading this responsibility frees up Hamas to fortify its military capabilities. Hamas is not being asked to recognize Israel’s right to exist or accept any peace process.
The latest “reconciliation” deal between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas brings the Palestinians closer to creating a state-within-a-state in the Gaza Strip. The PA and Hamas will now have two separate mini-states of their own in the Gaza Strip.
This arrangement is similar to the situation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah maintains a separate mini-state of its own there.
In state-like fashion, Hezbollah in Lebanon has its own army and territory. This situation, which has gone on for decades, has enraged many Lebanese politicians.
Earlier this year, when dozens of masked Hezbollah militiamen launched a nighttime raid to arrest drug dealers in Beirut, Lebanese politicians accused their government of giving up its authority in favor of Hezbollah’s “tiny state.” The militiamen belonged to Hezbollah’s “social security department,” a police force that operates independently of the Lebanese security authorities.
“This is what a country that has given up its authority in favor of the ‘tiny state’ (of Hezbollah) looks like,” said Ashraf Rifi, Lebanon’s former justice minister. Rifi said that the pictures of the Hezbollah militiamen conducting the raid testify for the umpteenth time how the very existence of Hezbollah goes against the state and its institutions.
Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority are now headed, willingly or unwillingly, towards plunging the Palestinians into a similar scenario as in Lebanon. The “reconciliation” accord they reached in Cairo paves the way for creating a mini-state within a mini-state in the Gaza Strip. These two “states” will be added to the mini-Palestinian Authority “state” that already exists in parts of the West Bank.
The Egyptian-sponsored deal does not require Hamas to dismantle its security forces and armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam. Nor does the agreement require Hamas to lay down its weapons or stop amassing weapons or preparing for war.
All that is known thus far is that the agreement allows Abbas and his Palestinian Authority to resume civilian control over the Gaza Strip, while security remains in the hands of Hamas.
This is a very comfortable situation for Hamas, which has effectively been absolved of any responsibility toward the civilian population. Hamas could not have hoped for a better deal.
Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be permitted to maintain its own security establishment and security force in the Gaza Strip, while Abbas’s government oversees civilian affairs and pays salaries to civil servants. It would be difficult in the extreme to imagine Hamas agreeing to relinquish security control or permit Abbas’s security forces to return to the Gaza Strip.
The Lebanon case seems better than the one shaping up in Gaza for several reasons. There, the government at least has its own army and police force. In the Gaza Strip, however, Hamas is unlikely to return to the pre-2007 era, when the Palestinian Authority had multiple security forces that maintained a tight grip and kept Hamas on the defensive by regularly arresting its leaders and members.
And, despite the hugging and kissing on display during the visit of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his delegation to the Gaza Strip on October 2 — the first of its kind since the violent and bloody Hamas takeover in 2007 — much bad blood remains between the two sides.
Hamas leaders and officials — who have repeatedly charged Abbas and his leadership with being part of a US and Israeli “conspiracy” to strangle and punish the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip — are approaching the “reconciliation” deal with utmost caution. Hamas is prepared to give the Palestinian Authority control over various government institutions and ministries — but that is where things end, at this point. Security matters are a whole different ballgame.
The past decade of cut-throat rivalry between the two sides has seen Hamas and the PA arrest hundreds of each other’s members and followers. The quest for revenge remains as strong as ever.
Abbas’s recent sanctions against the Gaza Strip, which included cutting off salaries to thousands of civil servants, thereby forcing many of them into early retirement, and his refusal to pay for Israeli-supplied electricity as well as suspending medication shipments, only aggravated pre-existing tensions between the two sides. Things came to a head last April, when a Hamas official, Marwan Abu Ras, in a public square in the Gaza Strip, openly called for the execution of Abbas for high treason. Such fury between Hamas officials and Abbas can hardly have been assuaged in four months.
For now, however, Hamas seems prepared to swallow the bitter pill — because the name of the game for Hamas is survival. Isolated and cash-stripped, Hamas will collude with anyone who offers it “oxygen”.
Abbas, for his part, has agreed to serve as the savior of Hamas. Why? One simple reason: he does not wish to see a concord between Mohammed Dahlan and Hamas. In Abbas’s view, the “reconciliation” deal is a victory not because Hamas has surrendered or relinquished security control over the Gaza Strip, but because he managed to foil Dahlan’s return to Gaza and the political arena. Backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and other Arab countries, Dahlan’s return and rendezvous with Hamas would have been a severe blow to Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.
A Dahlan-Hamas alliance would have undermined Abbas’s claim to be the president of all Palestinians, including those in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, such an alliance would have emboldened Dahlan, who lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates, and would have enhanced his prospects of succeeding Abbas as president of the PA.
Hamas has every reason to be satisfied with the “reconciliation” deal with Abbas. Its only concession was to dismantle its “administrative committee,” which served as a shadow government in the Gaza Strip. Hamas shed no tears in this move, which absolved it from managing civilian affairs and paying salaries. Offloading this responsibility frees up Hamas to fortify its military capabilities.
Notably, the Egyptian-engineered deal does not require Hamas to make any political concessions. This in itself is a huge achievement for Hamas. Hamas is not being asked to recognize Israel’s right to exist or accept any peace process.
The Gaza Strip is now headed toward a new era where it will be divided between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – one in charge of civilian issues while the second has full security control.
This situation, if it remains unresolved, will most likely lead to the renewal of tensions between the two sides. The Gaza Strip is headed towards a situation of a state within a state. As of now, it is safe to call their arrangement a three-state solution: one Palestinian state in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah and Hamas must be laughing their heads off as, under weak and impotent governments, they see their power grow.
Palestinian “Reconciliation”: Hamas Free to Fight but Now Abbas Accountable
by Bassam Tawil The Gatestone Institute
Abbas’s new partnership with Hamas means that from this moment on, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president should be held responsible for everything that takes place inside the Gaza Strip.
Until now, Abbas was rightly absolved of any responsibility for what was happening in the Gaza Strip. He has been able to argue that because he is not there, he is not responsible if Hamas has tunnels and is building up its weaponry and firing rockets at Israel. Now, the jig is up.
Why shouldn’t Hamas accept a deal that allows it to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip while Abbas’s government is busy collecting garbage, paying salaries to civil servants and footing the bill for water and electricity?
Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority government — and Abbas — responsible means endorsing the Hezbollah model, where the Lebanese government is impotent and the real power is wielded by the Shiite terror group, Hezbollah.
Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) government is on its way back to managing civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, meanwhile, says it will remain in control of security and will not lay down its weapons or dismantle its security forces and militias.
Abbas’s new partnership with Hamas — the product of Egyptian mediation efforts between the two parties — means that from this moment on, the Palestinian Authority president should now be held responsible for everything that takes place inside the Gaza Strip.
Abbas and his PA government should now be held accountable, among other things, for the fate of two Israeli civilians and the remains of IDF soldiers being held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.
Now that the Palestinian Authority has reached a deal with Hamas, President Mahmoud Abbas should be held accountable for what goes on in Gaza. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Abbas should also now be held responsible for any rockets that are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Abbas cannot have it both ways. He cannot use the new partnership with Hamas to project himself as the legitimate president of all Palestinians, including those living in the Gaza Strip, but at the same time argue that he does not have “control on the ground.” He cannot have his prime minister and government managing the day-to-day affairs of the Gaza Strip while at the same time claim that he cannot do anything about Hamas’s security forces and militia.
Until now, Abbas was rightly absolved of any responsibility for what was happening in the Gaza Strip. Hamas expelled him and his Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip in 2007, and since then he has been able to argue that because he is not there, he is not responsible if Hamas has tunnels and is building up its weaponry and firing rockets at Israel. Fair enough.
Now, the jig is up. Abbas can no longer avoid responsibility for anything that happens inside the Gaza Strip. He demanded that Hamas dismantle its shadow government and allow the Palestinian Authority to assume its responsibilities as the sovereign power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas was clever enough to grab the opportunity. Hamas complied with his demand and cordially invited Abbas and his government back into the Gaza Strip.
What motivated Hamas? Love for Abbas? Love for Egypt? No, Hamas complied with Abbas’s demand because doing so furthered its own interests. Why shouldn’t Hamas go for any agreement that does not require it to make any meaningful concessions? Why shouldn’t Hamas accept a deal that allows it to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip while Abbas’s government is busy collecting garbage, paying salaries to civil servants and footing the bill for water and electricity?
Abbas knows that Hamas will not lay down its weapons or dismantle its security forces and armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, despite the “reconciliation” agreement and the presence of the Palestinian Authority government in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas nevertheless decided to proceed with the new “reconciliation” agreement to assert his status as the legitimate president of all Palestinians. He also went with the agreement to thwart any deal between Hamas and his arch-rival, Mohammed Dahlan. Abbas is prepared to do just about anything to prevent Dahlan, who, based the United Arab Emirates, sees himself as a potential successor to Abbas, from returning to the Palestinian political arena. The situation continues to cause Abbas sleepless nights.
Now that Abbas’s government is back in the Gaza Strip, Israel and the rest of the world are entitled to hold him fully responsible for what takes place there.
Abbas’s government is either the sovereign power in the Gaza Strip, or it is not. If Hamas is not going to hand over security control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority government, then the whole “reconciliation” deal is nothing but a joke. Such an arrangement would turn Abbas into the mayor of the Gaza Strip, while Hamas remains the de facto ruler and sovereign authority there.
This is what is actually happening: Hamas wants to endorse the Hezbollah model in the Gaza Strip. Hamas wants Abbas to deal with the dirt of civilian affairs while it continues to dig out dirt for more terror tunnels.
If Abbas reached a bad deal with Hamas, that is his problem. It should not be the problem of Israel. It would be a mistake to return to the pre-2007 era, when both Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, were sitting in the Gaza Strip while Hamas and other terror groups were firing rockets and missiles at Israel. Back then, both Abbas and Arafat were unable to stop the terror attacks against Israel even though the Palestinian Authority security forces were in charge.
Enough is enough. From now on, any government sitting in the Gaza Strip should be held fully accountable for what happens there. Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority government — and Abbas — responsible means endorsing the Hezbollah model, where the Lebanese government is impotent and the real power is wielded by the Shiite terror group, Hezbollah.
The Lebanese government should be held responsible for everything that happens inside that country. The Lebanese government, as the sovereign power, should be held accountable for what Hezbollah does. This is the precisely the policy that needs to be adopted now with Abbas. Israel should demand that he and his government return the bodies of the IDF soldiers. Israel should demand that he return also two Israelis held inside the Gaza Strip. Israel should demand that Abbas and his government stop building tunnels that are to be used to attack Israel.
If Abbas responds that although his government is back in the Gaza Strip he has no control over security matters, he should be called out for the bluff of the “reconciliation” deal. The PA president ought to be informed: If you are not in control and your government is not really in charge, then get out of Gaza and stop playing the role of legitimate president of the Palestinian people; you are really nothing but a puppet dangled by the leaders of Hamas.