Ramallah - Ma'an - Hamas political and military leaders held meetings in Syria to prepare for the military takeover of the Gaza Strip, the deputy chief of the Palestinian intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Tawfiq Tirawi, claimed on Sunday.
He also accused Iran of assisting Hamas with training and funding prior to the Gaza takeover and warned that Hamas has caches of weapons in the West Bank which are intended for "a military revolution" against Fatah.
In a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tirawi fiercely criticized Hamas, describing them as “mutineers.”
"The current stage has revealed the real face of the mutineers who never believed in the Palestinian national agreement and independence,” Tirawi said. “They also refused to join the Palestine Liberation Organisation and aborted the first Palestinian uprising when they created an opposite program to that of the Palestinian forces, simply because their program contradicted the Palestinian national program."
Maj. Gen. Tirawi also accused Hamas of “treachery," saying that Hamas saw the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections as an opportunity to overcome the Palestinian national program.
Having won the elections but then failed to govern the Palestinian territories single-handedly, Hamas was forced to follow the path of dialogue, Tirawi said.
Tirawi also accused Hamas of carrying out a series of assassinations against members of the Palestinian security services and the Fatah movement. The deputy intelligence chief then challenged Hamas to prove that the Palestinian security services were involved in any single assassination attempt against Hamas members.
Responding to the declarations of Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya, Tirawi said, "The rebels want to distort the patriotic Palestinian security services' members, who do not need Hamas' praise despite the fact that Hamas used to applaud them during the elections time so as to get their support."
On Friday evening, Al Hayya accused the security services of collaborating and cooperating against Hamas with the Israel and the US, in addition to many other countries.
He accused the security services, who are considered loyal to Fatah, of not only spying on the Hamas movement, "but also on Arab countries and officials, including ministers and strategic sites".
Tirawi also addressed Hamas’ alleged assassination attempt of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and its goals. He said: "We challenge Hamas to prove that the video cassette which proved Hamas’ involvement in an attempt to assassinate the Palestinian president was fabricated. The aim of that assassination was to take advantage of the Palestinian law which reads that the speaker of the PLC, who is a Hamas leader, becomes the president once the president is absent."
Tirawi admitted that the security services failed, and that they are learning from their mistakes. Besides, he added, the security services were not given orders to attack. They were only defending themselves, he said.
With regards to the investigation committee, he said that the committee is authorized to summon anyone to testify, including President Abbas himself.
Tirawi stated several examples to prove that Fatah has always adhered to national unity and rejected inter-Palestinian fighting. He recalled an incident between the late president, Yasser Arafat, and a president of an Arab state who asked Arafat to get rid of the Iraqi-affiliated "Rejection Front", and Arafat refused.
Tirawi also claimed that the late Hamas leader, Imad 'Aqil, who was believed to have been assassinated by Israel, was in fact assassinated by a Hamas-affiliated imam of a mosque.
Tirawi also narrated an anecdote implying that Hamas members also "collaborated" with Israel. He said that the brother of a Hamas spokesperson, called Mushher Al-Masri, came to the West Bank with the aim of carrying out a bombing operation inside Israel. However, his brother, the Hamas spokesman, told the Palestinian security services to send him back to the Gaza Strip.
Tirawi also assured that the Palestinian intelligence agency is an information body, not a military one. The agency includes only a limited number of armed men, Tirawi said, who are used only to defend their bases if they come under attack.
He added, "We are responsible for our people in Gaza and the West Bank, and we have to protect all civilians."
He also called on Fatah's main armed wing, the Al Aqsa Brigades, to join the security forces in maintaining law and order through the security institutions. He assured that any lawbreakers would be pursued and punished.
In the case of the Hamas prisoners being held in Fatah prisons, Tirawi said that this issue would be ended soon. However, he added that anyone who has weapons which are intended for destruction or killing would be punished.
Tirawi also alleged that Hamas has weapons which are intended for "a military revolution" against Fatah. In order to prevent such a situation, the security services will declare a state of emergency, Tirawi said.
At the end of the press conference, Tirawi also slammed Iran for assisting Hamas with training and funding prior to the Gaza takeover. He also alleged that some Arab parties trained members of Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, in their military bases.