Hamas awaits opportunity to take control of West Bank: Israeli FM

09:28, March 15, 2011      

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday said that it is only a matter of time until Hamas seizes control of the West Bank.

Addressing the Knesset parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Lieberman said his ministry "believes, contrary to other authorities, that Hamas is currently stronger than Fatah in the West Bank," local news website Ynet quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Lieberman's assessment, which had most likely been formulated by the Foreign Ministry's research division, disputes that of Israel's intelligence community.

When asked to support the credibility of the assessment, Lieberman said that his ministry was the only official Israeli body that had correctly predicted the resignation of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak prior to the outbreak of the popular protests.

The foreign minister, however, noted that the Islamist group, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007, is currently not interested in dominating the West Bank due to pragmatic considerations.

"They are waiting for the day when (Palestinian National Authority President) Mahmoud Abbas and (Prime Minister) Salam Fayyad extract the maximum they are able to get out of the international community, and then they will seize power," Lieberman said, according to Ynet.

Source: Xinhua
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