Fishman, regarded as close to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi,
said Hamas and Israel could come to blows as early as December 2009, Middle East Newsline reported. He said
Hamas could spark a war to stop Palestinian Authority elections, scheduled
for January 2010, as well as prevent international sanctions on Iran. Iran
has been deemed the leading ally of Hamas.
The sources said Hamas has acquired dozens of rockets with a range of at
least 60 kilometers since the war with Israel in January 2009. They said the
rockets were Iranian-origin Fajr-3s, the warheads of which were reduced in
an effort to extend the weapons' range of 43 kilometers.
"Hamas has implemented one of its main lessons from Operation Cast Lead
[war with Israel]: The leaders of the organization concluded that as long as
they do not have rockets that can threaten Tel Aviv, they have no tangible
card to influence Israeli public opinion and genuinely deter the government
and the Israel Defense Forces," Fishman wrote in the Israeli daily Yediot
Aharonot on Nov. 4.
The sources said Hamas has become completely dependent on Iran and Syria
in wake of the war with Israel. They said Iran wants to use Hamas to divert
international attention from Teheran's controversial nuclear program.
"Hamas emerged from Operation Cast Lead battered but not beaten, and is
now implementing lessons from the fighting in order to be better prepared
for the next operation," Yaakov Amidror, a former senior Israeli
intelligence commander, said.
For its part, Hamas has warned Israel of punishing attacks. The movement
has refused to confirm Israel's assertion that Hamas tested a rocket with a
range of 60 kilometers on Oct. 29.
"In any next confrontation with the Zionist army, the Izzedin Kassam
Brigades [Hamas military] will not keep silent," Hamas military spokesman
Abu Obeida said. "We will take any measure to protect the Palestinian