Hamas announced Sunday that the unity government with Fatah has collapsed.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas of spreading lies by claiming that Hamas and Israel held secret negotiations concerning Hamas rule in the West Bank.
In an interview on Egyptian television, reported by Israel's Channel 10, Abbas claimed that Israel offered Hamas control over half of the West Bank and future negotiations would decide control over the remaining territory. Abbas' unsupported claims overlook the fact that Israel foiled an extensive Hamas plot to initiate a third Intifada and a carry out a coup to oust the PA in the West Bank earlier this year.
At the time, Abbas called the Israeli information "a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future," ordering his security forces to investigate the Hamas plot.
Now, the internal Palestinian rift has led Hamas to end the unity government with Abbas' Fatah faction.
This development comes in context of yet another major Hamas terrorist plot. Last Thursday, the Shin Bet (Israel's Security Agency) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) foiled a large-scale Hamas network in the West Bank that planned to attack the Teddy soccer stadium and the light rail system in Jerusalem. The plot also featured car bombings and kidnapping of Israelis in the West Bank and abroad. The cell also wanted to attack Israeli military and traffic targets in the West Bank, infiltrate into Israeli communities, and initiate terrorist cells in Jordan to conduct cross-border attacks. The uncovered plot revealed numerous terror cells and Hamas personnel training abroad.
More than 30 people were arrested.
According to the Shin Bet, Hamas' headquarters in Turkey is overseeing the network of West Bank terrorist cells. The terrorist organization's base in Turkey was also directly responsible for attempting to orchestrate a mass-casualty attack and overthrow of the Palestinian Authority earlier this year.
Turkey is a NATO country that openly supports Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization. It denies the Israeli claim, saying it talks with Hamas, "but would not under any circumstances allow a terror group to operate from its territory."
But senior Hamas official Salah Arouri openly operates in the country, and is suspected of helping facilitate the June kidnapping and murder of three Yeshiva students which triggered a summer-long conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.