Barak: Hamas May Take Over

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - After authorizing transfer of armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other military equipment to Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces this week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it may all be used against Israel.

In a meeting with US special envoy to Israel, General Jimmy Jones, Barak said efforts to bolster the PA's Fatah government could backfire if Hamas takes over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

"We need to keep in mind the possibility that after all we have done, Hamas will take over the West Bank, not only by force but even in the upcoming general elections. This is certainly a possibility," Barak told Jones.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives Saturday to continue efforts to push the peace process forward.

While acknowledging the PA's inadequacy in uprooting the terror infrastructure, the US is particularly unhappy with Israel's reticence to remove key checkpoints in Judea and Samaria.

"Both the Americans and the Palestinians understand that if we lift a roadblock and there is an attack, we will fall back instead of moving forward in the negotiations," one Israeli official said.

Meanwhile, Israel is watching the Abbas government weaken while Hamas strengthens its hold in PA-controlled cities in Judea and Samaria. The possibility of a Hamas takeover, as happened in the Gaza Strip, is growing.

Last Sunday, delegations from Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement in Yemen aimed at restoring a coalition unity government.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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