GAZA CITY Ñ Hamas plans to administer the Gaza Strip in the
aftermath of any Israeli withdrawal from the area.
Hamas has drafted a plan that calls for a Palestinian civilian
administration over the Gaza Strip after an Israeli pullout, the
organization said, according to a report by Middle East Newsline.
The plans calls for security to be assumed by
Palestinian insurgency groups rather than solely by the Palestinian
In Washington, the State Department dismissed the Hamas plan. State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher questioned the aim of Hamas's plan to
take over Gaza.
"To blow everything up and kill more people?" Boucher asked. "I'm afraid
all we have ever seen from Hamas is explosions and death and destruction."
On Wednesday, Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman meets PA
Chairman Yasser Arafat to resume security talks. Suleiman was expected to
discuss preparations in the Gaza Strip for any Israeli pullout.
"Hamas has worked on formulating an administration plan that includes
political, administrative and social processes and all the other fields that
serve Palestinians," Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin said.
This is the first time Hamas has acknowledged plans to take over the
Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said Hamas has been engaged in a military
buildup and the organization of a so-called popular army meant to protect
the area from Israeli invasion.
[On Wednesday, an Israeli armored force conducted a search-and-destroy
operation for weapons tunnels in the southern Gaza town of Rafah. In the
West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli troops captured the commander of the
Islamic Jihad, Anas Hatnawi.]
At a news conference on Tuesday, Yassin said the Gaza plan has not yet
been completed. He said the program would be drafted and released before an
Hamas said it would not seek sole responsibility for security in the
Gaza Strip. Yassin said this would require a joint effort by such groups as
Fatah, Islamic Jihad as well as Hamas.
"We have never had the intention to take over security responsibilities
in the strip," Yassin said. "We seek cooperation and partnership among all
the Palestinian national and Islamic movements."
Another element of the plan includes the future of Israeli communities
in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas plan was said to call for the retention of
these communities and the use of those homes for Palestinian insurgents and
the families of suicide bombers.
Hamas spokesman Said Siyam said his movement would discuss the Hamas
plan with other Palestinian insurgency groups. He said the plan includes all
aspects of administration of the Gaza Strip, including economic, political,
security and social welfare.
Earlier, Hamas commander Mohammed Deif said his organization has been
developing missiles and other weapons for attacks against Israel. Deif
appeared on Hamas's web site in an indication that he has returned to full
activity after he was seriously injured in an Israeli attack in September