Hamas' New Security Force Rankles Israel, PLO

The new Hamas-led Palestinian government creates a new security force in Gaza that includes members of militant factions. The unit will be headed by the leader of a group that has attacked Israel. He is also blamed for a bombing that killed three Americans in Gaza in 2003.

The appointment sparked new criticism from the U.S. and Israel and intensified the struggle for control of some 70,000 Palestinian security forces. Hamas' appointment is seen as a challenge to the power of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose office called the move "illegal and improper."

The new Hamas-led Palestinian government is deep in debt and reeling from a cut off of millions in foreign aid. To make matters worse, Hamas can't even find a bank to use, as Arab lenders fear lawsuits for dealing with the terrorist-listed group.

Government employees haven't been paid in six weeks — including 60,000 well-armed Palestinian security forces, many of whom are loyal to the former Fatah-led government. The financial tensions have widened a split and prompted questions over whether Hamas or Fatah is in charge of the security forces.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: