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JERUSALEM – Members of the U.S.-backed Fatah organization recently were caught aiding Hamas in the establishment of a military wing in the strategic West Bank, according to security sources in the Palestinian Authority. The Obama administration has backed a Fatah-led state in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November announced a 10-month freeze of Jewish construction in the territory in an attempt to jumpstart talks aimed at creating a West Bank PA state, a move that would first see an Israeli retreat from the area.
Following Israel's evacuation of the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas seized the coastal territory, forcibly expelling the U.S.-trained Fatah security forces of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Now, recent occurrences indicate Hamas is attempting to set the stage for an eventual West Bank takeover.
The past two years, the U.S. stepped up its efforts at training the PA, running more advanced courses guided by Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator to the Palestinian territories, who in 2007 initiated an advanced program for Palestinian police that trains 500 to 600 cadets at a time at the American bases.
Members of the U.S.-backed Fatah organization recently were caught aiding Hamas in the establishment of a military wing in the strategic West Bank, according to security sources in the Palestinian Authority.