Hamas Is Alive and Kicking in the West Bank – Amos Harel (Ha’aretz)
For Hamas in Gaza, survival is more important than the armed struggle against Israel. Egypt has threatened to crush Hamas if it renews its rocket fire into Israel.
Hamas is currently doing all it can to rein in the activity of more extreme armed factions. A police force of 800 Hamas activists was established a year ago for this purpose.
In 2011, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit, including 118 West Bank residents who were banished to Gaza. The senior figures among them were co-opted into Hamas’ security apparatus
Salah Aruri, who served as infrastructure expert to the former head of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank, Ibrahim Hamed (who was arrested in 2006), is working with a large group of activists freed in the Shalit deal who are now leading Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank.
During the past two years, the Israel Security Agency has identified and preempted about 80 plans for attacks in the West Bank, plans that originated with individuals released as part of the Shalit deal.
Hamas headquarters in Gaza transmits detailed instructions, as well as funds, to its West Bank activists.
In several cases, Israel arrested individuals who had undergone military training in Hamas camps in Gaza. They had traveled from the West Bank to Jordan, then to Egypt, and entered Gaza through the Rafah tunnels. Some received training in the running of explosives laboratories.