JERUSALEM, Israel -- Some say Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is between a rock and a hard place. With the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in early July, Hamas lost a natural ally -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Neither Hamas nor the Brotherhood has fared well since Morsi's ouster.
Egypt's interim government has taken many of the Brotherhood's leaders, including Morsi, into custody, while security forces continue to thwart demonstrations by his followers.
The Egyptian military also sealed more than 1,000 arms smuggling tunnels near the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, effectively preventing free movement of terrorists to and from the Sinai Desert.
But closing the tunnels has also prevented smugglers from providing a variety of other products to Gaza residents, making daily life under the heavy hand of the Islamist regime more difficult.
Over the weekend, Haniyeh rallied Arab Palestinians to prepare for a third intifada (armed uprising) against the "Zionist enemy" for allegedly using the peace talks to "Judaize" Jerusalem and the al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount. Israelis, he warned, would not be able to endure the coming "fire and rage."
"What we will do to the Jews is much worse than what they can endure…Hamas will surprise everyone in a move that will also surprise the enemy and turn the tide," he said.
Haniyeh swore that Hamas has not "intervened in internal Egyptian affairs, not in the Sinai nor anywhere else in Egypt," he said. "Our weapons are aimed only at the Zionist enemy."
Notwithstanding, Egyptian troops have found mortars, rockets, grenades, and RPGs identified by the stamp of Hamas' military wing in the Sinai, a military spokesman reported recently.