According to the report, Hamas commanders held clandestine meetings in the Gaza Strip and in West Bank to discuss the possibility of targeting the United States due to their policies against Hamas and their support for Israel.
A commander of the armed wing told Time, “The US has become very hostile to the Palestinians. We shouldn't stand by idly while the Americans are plotting against us." He noted that Hamas chiefs felt their patience with the United States had run out and that it was time to take action against it.
Israeli military sources told Time that they were aware of the debate in Hamas over whether to strike US targets. An IDF official explained that up until now, Hamas has apparently held the view that they have one enemy – Israel, and they would leave fight the US up to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But such restraint might collapse if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas moves to dismantle the government in the coming weeks.
Just last Wednesday, gunmen kidnapped American national Michael Leighton Phillips, in his 20s, in Nablus. He was held hostage for 28 hours until he was released when dozens of gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, raided the site where he was being held.
The Fatah operatives said they view the kidnapping as “harmful to Palestinian interests” and therefore made sure the American hostage was freed. The group that took responsibility for the kidnapping is known to be active in Iraq and is closely identified with al-Qaeda. Members of the terror group faxed a message to news agencies with a grainy photograph of Phillips’ passport and student card to announce his capture, and later demanded Israel free security prisoners in return for Phillips release.
Additionally, Hamas extremists are enraged over the United States support for Abbas, especially their apparently generous fiscal support. On Friday, US governmental officials told Reuters that the US had started a campaign projected to cost up to USD 42 million to bolster Hamas' political opponents ahead of possible early Palestinian elections
The news was also reported in the Palestinian media, which noted that the US was funding Fatah with millions of dollars, aimed at strengthening Fatah’s command.
According to the reports, the United States Consulate in Jerusalem had already given USD 15 million towards boosting Fatah. It was noted that of that sum, USD 650,000 were allotted for children’s summer camps.
Senior Fatah officials vehemently denied the reports.