Hamas wants to have the same communications capability, particularly if the conflicts it has been cultivating escalate. The relationship between Hamas and Fatah's leader, Palestinian Authority Chairman president Mahmoud Abbas, has been growing increasingly tense. Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayam has accused Abbas of planning a coup and has announced the deployment of a new, armed operational force in the West Bank where Fatah support is strongest. Abbas has reportedly ordered PA security forces to prevent such deployment.
At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is deciding what he needs to do to stop the Kassam missiles that have been raining down from Gaza virtually every day since the Israeli withdrawal from that territory more than a year ago. Also on his to-do list: blocking the smuggling of arms into Gaza through the Philadelphi route and Rafah crossing, destroying the anti-tank missiles and industrial explosives already smuggled into Gaza, and demolishing the tunnels that Hamas has been building in the direction of Israel's security fence.
In addition, Israelis would like to secure the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, a soldier captured in June by Hamas combatants operating on Israeli soil. This week, Israel's UN ambassador, Dan Gillerman, accused Iran of paying money to Hamas to make sure Shalit's captivity continues.
In these circumstances, Hamas wants the ability to deliver its spin directly to Arab audiences, to win their sympathy and support, to raise money and perhaps recruit volunteers. And it wants to use satellite television to reach deep into Europe to incite Arabic speakers -- for example in the suburbs of Paris where French police are taking casualties daily in what they term an “intifada;” in London, where British security officials are desperately trying to track proliferating Al Qaeda cells; and elsewhere in Europe where radical jihadist activity is on the rise.
The Europeans appear to be doing little to stop the Saudis and Egyptians from helping Hamas and Hezbollah incite terrorism. By contrast, it will not be surprising if -- besides missile factories and weapons warehouses-- the Israeli army soon targets Hamas television studios. And should a Palestinian civil war break out, it is not hard to imagine that Fatah might do the same.
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