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Explosion in West Bank Leads to Discovery of New Hamas Laboratory

Palestinian Hamas terrorists attend an anti-Israel rally in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip May 27, 2021
Palestinian Hamas terrorists attend an anti-Israel rally in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip May 27, 2021

In the West Bank, a mysterious explosion led Palestinian authorities to discover eight kilograms of explosives in a laboratory operated by the Sunni-Islamic terrorist group Hamas.

The lab was located in the city of Beitunia, outside the capital city of the Palestinian National Authority, Ramallah. 

The Palestinian Authority claims that Hamas planned to use the explosives in the laboratory against the PA’s headquarters in Ramallah or the Mukata’a, Palestinian media, and senior PA officials. Security forces arrested Saleh al-Arouri, a prominent leader of Hamas and founding military commander of Hamas’s military force, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Four other suspected Hamas officials were arrested with connections to the lab.

In the past few weeks, the PA’s security forces have conducted many more arrests of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) officials in various cities like Nablus and Ramallah in the West Bank province.

When Israel decided to recognize the PA under Mahmoud Abbas, formerly called the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) under then-President Yasser Arafat, one of the terms demanded from the PA was to crackdown on radical Islamic terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Under Arafat, the PA was hesitant to crack down on members of Hamas and PIJ out of fear of violent retaliation from the group and its backers. When the PA under Arafat did arrest members of Hamas and PIJ, the individuals would face a minimum sentence in jail or be released under direct orders from senior PA officials to strong-arm the Israeli government into negotiations.

Since 1994, the United States has provided the PA with more than $5.2 billion through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to sustain the PA under Mahmoud Abbas and deter Hamas and PIJ’s growing influence. The U.S. has also assisted the Palestinian people through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), ranging from $380.5 to $408 million in the past few years. However, national security experts and Israeli officials have pointed out that the funds to the PA have gone to enrich the corrupt lifestyles of Abbas and other senior officials.

Abbas and his officials have been known to use the funds to supply a “pay for slay” program, using millions of dollars in American taxes to pay for the families of Palestinian “martyrs” against Israel.

As the PA’s longest-serving president since 2008, Abbas and the PA have tried to overpower Hamas and PIJ. In the past, when Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad launched violent rocket attacks against Israel, the PA condemned its rivals and Israel to appease both sides and not stoke internal conflict with Hamas. The arrests made under Abbas’s leadership signifies the PA’s worry about Hamas’s growing influence and power over the Palestinian people as the terrorist organization continues to recruit young Palestinians for their cause.

Both Hamas and PIJ are considered the two most radical anti-Israeli terrorist groups in the Middle East as both sides have had a history of engaging in terrorist activities against ordinary Israelis, Israeli government officials, and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). After the Oslo negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, Hamas and PIJ accused the PA of being “sellouts” and with support from Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic, engaged in terrorist activities against PA officials and Israel.

Hamas and PIJ have been funded excessively by the Islamic Republic and Hezbollah with funds, rockets, guns, ammunition, bombs, mortars, training, and various other benefits.