The report, dated September 2010, played down assertions by the PA that
Hamas established a military infrastructure in the West Bank. ICG said Hamas
military operatives have been unable to organize without a clear decision
from the leadership.
"We have the will to fight, but there has been no decision taken that we
should do so," a Kassam member said. "If a decision is taken, we can
The ICG report was released before Israel's announcement in September
2011 of the resurgence of Hamas' military network in the West Bank. The
network was said to have been organized and directed by Hamas from the Gaza
Strip and Turkey.
The unidentified Kassam member was quoted by ICG as saying that Hamas
detainees in Israeli and PA prisons have been furious over the absence of
major insurgency operations in the West Bank. The member said the West Bank
leadership, despite an infusion of funds, has been paralyzed.
"We fought Israel, and we can fight the PA," the Kassam member said.
"But it hasn't been properly discussed. The inside leadership is paralyzed,
so we are relying on the outside, but no decision has come. Neither leaders
nor soldiers are taking decisions."
"Inside the prisons, Hamas fighters are very angry," the Kassam member
continued. "They are saying, 'Why didn't we act immediately in the West Bank
[in June 2007] as we did in Gaza? Then, we had the potential for broad
action. Now we don't."
In 2007, Hamas overthrew the PA in the Gaza Strip and established an
Islamic state blockaded by both Egypt and Israel. Since then, Hamas in the
West Bank has come under periodic crackdowns by the PA, with more than 1,000
operatives arrested since August 2010.
"We served up our heads on a plate for nothing," the Kassam operative
said. "We're sitting in jail while the PA is going it alone and coordinating
with Israel without paying any price."
ICG said the PA has been targeting Hamas institutions throughout the
West Bank. The report said Bethlehem and Nablus accounted for more than half
of the closures while Hebron largely avoided the PA crackdown.
"In the governorate of Nablus alone, approximately 70 additional
organizations are now being
scrutinized, many of which are expected to be closed," the report said.