A senior Palestinian Authority official said that Hamas is preparing to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to seize control of the West Bank. A similar attempt in June-July 2015 did not succeed.

Although the Palestinian parliament confirmed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority, the legitimacy of the parliament and Abbas’ Presidency is as questionable as that of Hamas itself, given that the last elections in the Palestinian territories took place 13 years ago - in 2006.

Hamas came to power legitimately as a result of the 2006 elections, but established a military dictatorship which divided the administration of the Palestinian territories into two sides.

As a result of its control of the Palestinian borders, Israel receives revenues from customs duties which it is meant to hand over to the Palestinian Authority. However the Israeli government has decided to unilaterally deduct from that income the equivalent of the amount the Palestinian Authority gives its martyrs (prisoners held in Israel and families of victims of Israeli violence).

As a result, the Mahmoud Abbas government is refusing to accept what remains of the income owed by Israel, and consequently has trouble paying the salaries of its civil servants, a situation which Hamas has been trying to exploit by suborning those responsible for security services in the West Bank.

Meanwhile Hamas is trying to reconcile itself with Syria. Not long ago, Hamas officially declared itself the "Palestinian branch" of the Muslim Brotherhood, but now its leaders say they have broken their ties with that organization.

Hamas’ political leadership lived for a long time in Damascus, the Syrian capital, and received military support from Syria, but at the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring" its leaders left the Syrian capital and went to Qatar.

Later, Hamas commandos accompanied by members of al-Qaeda and Israeli intelligence officials infiltrated the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, outside Damascus, to physically remove the leaders of other Palestinian groups. In the midst of the subsequent fighting, the Syrian Arab Army and the fighters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) had to proceed with the evacuation of the population of Yarmouk while Qatar accused the Syrian government of being «worse than Israel with the Palestinians». For his part, Mahmoud Abbas thanked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the protection he provided to the Palestinian refugees.

The diplomatic situation today is particularly complicated as Iran maintained relations with both secular and religious groups during the war in Syria. In the name of Muslim solidarity, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei allowed a Hamas representative and a Syrian ambassador to be based in Tehran. At the same time, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah have always been allies of Iran, even if they do not agree with its exaggerated religious system.

Artemis Pittas