Friday, July 18, 2008
On July 18, 2008, the Washington Post reported that Israeli forces are raiding charitable and social organizations suspected of having links to Hamas. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The operation was part of a much broader crackdown that Israel has recently initiated in the occupied West Bank against Hamas's extensive social services network. While Hamas is probably best known for its military wing -- which champions attacks against the Jewish state -- it is the group's sponsorship of schools, medical centers, orphanages and food banks that gives it much of its power and helped it sweep Palestinian elections in 2006.
With a fragile truce holding in Gaza, Israel has turned its attention to undercutting Hamas's charity work in the West Bank. The effort is needed there, Israel contends, to keep the group from seizing power from the more pragmatic Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, much as it did in Gaza last year.
But the raids have also sown resentment and have put the Palestinian Authority in an awkward spot: Although Hamas is seen by Fatah leaders as a mortal threat, it also provides valuable services that the Palestinian Authority can't easily replicate. Every time Israel cracks down and closes a school or a medical center, it leaves a void that makes people more dissatisfied with the Authority.
For the entire article, see "Unease Over West Bank Raids: Israeli Crackdown on Charities Problematic for Palestinian Authority" in the July 18, 2008, issue of the Washington Post.