Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
11 July '10
1. Senior Hamas figures have represented the affair of the last flotilla as an important political-propaganda victory which not only damaged Israeli-Turkish relations but made a genuine change in the way the international community regarded Israel. However, Hamas is apprehensive lest Israel's easing of restrictions strengthens international understanding for its motives and increase pressure on the Hamas movement.
2. Statements made by Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, and of other senior Hamas figures, present two objectives, one practical and the other political-strategic:
A. Practically speaking, Hamas wants the complete lifting of the so-called siege, meaning goods would enter and exit the Gaza Strip according to Hamas's conditions and rules: opening the crossings to the uninterrupted passage of all types of merchandise, including those with military use, banned by Israel; Hamas supervision of the goods entering the Gaza Strip; marginalizing the role of the Palestinian Authority making it easier to smuggle weapons in the future; opening the sea lanes to the Gaza Strip; and opening a route between Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, which would facilitate smuggling weapons. As far as Hamas is concerned, imposing its own rules would strengthen its control over the Gaza Strip at the expense of the Palestinian Authority and promote the continuation of its military buildup.
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