The General Security Service (GSS) revealed Monday that it had uncovered a serious plot by Hamas to launch an uprising in Yehudah and Shomron, not only against Israel, but against the Palestinian Authority.
According to the GSS, Hamas’ goals included a military coup to topple the Palestinian Authority. It says its information about “military” organizing by Hamas in Yehudah and Shomron is based on interrogations of recently arrested suspects and is not aimed at driving a wedge between Hamas and the PA, which recently teamed up in a “unity” government.
The information is being released now because it is in legal documents that formalize charges against some 70 Hamas members.
Officials say that some 93 suspects have been arrested in the current investigation, including a man who allegedly was sent to Malaysia by Hamas to be trained as a paraglider.
According to information cleared for publication, Hamas began organizing militarily in May – unrelated to the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers, Hy”d, a month later.
As for the plot to take over the PA, GSS officials say the coup was hatched by Hamas activists in Turkey – with others in Jordan involved in the planning.
The plan included major terrorist attacks inside Israel, launched from Yehuda and the Shomron that would trigger harsh responses by Israel. That, Hamas hoped, would lead to the eruption of a widespread uprising by Palestinians: a third Intifada.
It appears that Israeli intelligence received some of its information regarding this plot from Jordan’s security agencies, which is believed to have spies inside various Palestinian factions. Jordan is reputed to engage in harsh interrogations to extract information relating to alleged plots.
As part of the Israeli investigation, dozens of weapons and hidden storage facilities were found. Guns valued at around half a million dollars are believed to have been smuggled in from Jordan.
The GSS believes it revealed this plot before attacks on Israelis – or on the PA – could be carried out.
But one GSS official said the information proves that Hamas and certainly its leadership outside the PA-controlled territories are very serious about their intention to take over the entire Palestinian movement.