Hamas Building an Alternative PA

Hamas' success in raising funds from Iran may signify a growing attempt at creating alternative state institutions to the ones in the PA currently controlled by Fatah.

PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's successful visit to Iran ended with the Iranians pledging $250m to help pay salaries and build hospitals in the PA territories. The money is far higher than Fatah was able to raise while in power and will be used to pay Hamas officials and workers.

Before Hamas' rise to power, the movement focused on providing a non-governmental social support network ("The Daawa") that aided many Palestinians in need. This was a major factor in the increased support for Hamas.

Moreover, since Hamas' electoral victory (01/06), its independence has increased in the military sphere as well. Hamas has effectively created its own security agency, the Executive Force, which consists of several thousand members.

The use of funds for supporting Hamas activists indicates that Hamas is building alternative state institutions - to the ones controlled by Fatah – in a bid to completely control the PA.

The embargo that has nearly paralyzed the PA was designed to pressure Hamas into compromising and accepting the international community's "three demands". However, paradoxically, it is the Fatah–led institutions that are suffering from the current embargo. Due to the Iranian support, Hamas-led institutions are now flourishing.

Sources

Sarah el Deeb, Guardian, 12/12/06; full article.

Avi Issacharoff, Ha'aretz, 12/12/06.