(New York, N.Y.) – A statement released on Telegram last week by Hamas’s military wing claimed direct responsibility for a series of recent terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank—a rare move highlighting Hamas’s increasingly brazen posture and influence. A June 20 shooting in the West Bank settlement of Eli killed four and wounded four others. A 22-year-old Israeli soldier was shot and killed near the Kedumim West Bank settlement on July 6. And nine were injured in a vehicle ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on July 4. Hamas—which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 but had limited success in asserting itself in the West Bank—claimed all three of the attacks.
On July 3, Israeli forces launched a two-day operation in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed it led the resistance to the Israeli action. During meetings in June with the leaders of Hamas and PIJ, the Iranian regime renewed its commitment to providing financial and material support to Palestinian militants, while Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called the growth of militant groups in the West Bank central to bringing Israel “to its knees.”
Iran’s determination to grow its terrorist proxies in the West Bank presents an existential challenge to the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly warned the West Bank is at risk of being taken over by Hamas. The warning cited the expulsion of two Fatah—the ruling party of Abbas in the Palestinian Authority—leaders from funerals of Palestinians killed during the Jenin operation. Organized protests across the West Bank this month further demonstrate the deterioration of PA rule. In Jenin, Palestinian protesters charged the Palestinian Authority with collaborating against “resistance fighters,” and in Nablus a group of protesters claimed the Palestinian Authority consisted of Israeli “spies.”
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Hamas, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), please click here.