Hamas envoy to Iran: Expect wave of terror attacks in IsraelThe hate-driven axis of Iranian mullahs and the Hamas regime jihadists... Are you listening, Ed O'Loughlin? Ronnie Kasrils ("Hamas has in effect renounced violence")? Lord Mayor Ken Livingstone ("Likud and Hamas members are two sides of the same coin")? Britain's Home Office ("phrases such as Islamic terrorist and jihadi fundamentalism are too inflammatory and imply that all Muslims explicitly are responsible for extremism")?
Hamas' representative in Iran said Wednesday that Israel can expect a wave of suicide bombings inside its 1967 borders, not just the West Bank. In a statement on Hamas' Internet site signed by the organization's delegate to Iran, Dr. Abu-Osama Abed Al-Ma'ati, the suicide attack that occurred earlier this week in Dimona was described as the beginning of a new wave of similar actions.
"The Dimona attack is a message. That message is that Iz al-Din al-Qassam has renewed the suicide attacks," the message said... Showing consistency with the organization's line from Iran, Hamas' spokesmen in Gaza said the organization will continue to mount "resistance" and carry on with the suicide attacks.
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri defended the Dimona attack, which killed a 73-year-old Israeli woman. "There is no choice, no option for our people, but to resist the occupation and defend themselves by all possible means," he said.
Defense officials told Haaretz they view the announcement as a significant change because it comes from the organization's representative to Tehran which has in recent weeks been pressuring Hamas to escalate hostilities against Israel.
In recent months, the Gaza Strip has seen the smuggling of Iranian Katyusha rockets. Since Hamas last month toppled the border fence separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt, Iranian-trained experts in terrorist activities have reentered the Strip, where Hamas has enjoyed sovereignty since it staged a bloody coup d'etat last June.
The renewal of suicide attacks in Israel as a matter of policy... fits in with the line the organization's military wing has been trying to promote. Military-wing officials believe that the organization should escalate all hostilities against Israel, including suicide attacks, rocket launches and strikes at settlements in the West Bank.
Hamas has also stepped up its involvement in firing rockets into Israel over the past couple of days. In parallel with ordering militants to launch several Katyusha rockets at Ashkelon on Tuesday, Hamas' political officials have lowered their public profile. Defense officials in Jerusalem said this was done to minimize the risk of Hamas officials being killed in strikes by the IAF.
And what of Palestinian-Arab public opinion? Something about this reiteration of the Hamas jihadist agenda plays well on Gaza's fetid streets. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research yesterday reported on a survey it carried out between 23rd January and 3rd February, 2008. This entirely-Arab survey shows a 6-point rise in support for Hamas in the past few weeks, to 39% compared with 33% in a mid-December '07 poll. (Fatah's support is still larger, but feel to 46% from December's 52%.)
For people (like us) living here in the Middle East, the whole jihad-Iran-Hamas issue is very real, very practical. This isn't ideological or merely academic - and it's absolutely not a matter of politics. The problem for people living far from here is that they seem not to realize just how very relevant this matter of terrorism is to them personally, individually, immediately.