Hamas has up to 80% support in West Bank, warns former Israeli chief of staff

Middle East Monitor  / January 24, 2022

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has between 70 and 80 per cent support in the West Bank, a former Israeli chief of the general staff has warned. Retired General – a former Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defence Forces – Gadi Eisenkot made his comment when asked about the possibility of a new outbreak of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The question is not whether there will be another outbreak, but when and how intense it will be,” Eisenkot said. “It is quite clear that this will happen. There’s no way that it’s not going to happen… It will happen at the least convenient time and place for us.”

With so much support for Hamas in the West Bank, he added, “It is just a matter of time before another outbreak of violence with the Palestinians.”

According to Akka news website, Eisenkot told Maariv that Israel should soften its stance towards the besieged Gaza Strip. It is “illogical,” he suggested, to tie the easing of the siege of the territory to the release of the “bodies of Israeli soldiers and the two other citizens.”

internal divisions ‘greater threat’ than foreign enemies

Eisenkot warned that the country’s internal divisions pose a greater threat than its foreign foes, Walla has reported. Eisenkot issued a similar warning a year ago.

“I think that the rifts in Israeli society, and the attacks from both sides, the decline in governance, the decline in faith in state institutions, in the courts, crime — all these are the greatest threats for the country’s future,” explained the former general. “People are worried, not because of the Iranian threat, but because of internal weakness, loss of cohesion, inequality, friction between different communities. Entire groups of the public are not being absorbed into society.”

He insisted that Israelis need to understand that there is no national security without societal solidarity. “And there is no societal solidarity without national security.”

Eisenkot highlighted the declining involvement with the Israeli army in recent decades as an indicator of this breakdown.