Head of IDF’s Gaza command: Hamas is the new policeman in Gaza

An Israeli army general says Hamas is stopping attacks against Israel and even ‘keeps the peace’ when the IDF operates along the border.

Hamas police training on the streets of Gaza, February 7, 2012. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
Hamas police training on the streets of Gaza, February 7, 2012. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Israel’s Channel 10 revealed the contents of a closed meeting between the head of the IDF’s “Gaza Command,” the top general responsible for the strip, and Israeli citizens living in the region. In the meeting, Brig.-Gen. Miki Edelstien confirmed what has been speculated for some time: that Hamas authorities are preventing all military activity against Israel and are even conducting crowd control near the border with Israel. However, Edelstein said that there is no direct cooperation between the two sides.

Here are some of the quotes brought by Channel 10 Monday night (my translation):

Hamas leaders, both military and political, are doing everything to maintain restraint. One of their most important brigades is now acting as ‘border police,’ with 800 combatants taking shifts preventing all sorts of tiny organizations that want to fire rockets or place roadside bombs [on the border].

According to the report, Hamas is even preventing anti-Israeli activities that the IDF is not aware of.

Suddenly Hamas is the strip’s policeman. There is no guarantee that it will last for long but for now it has brought about very serious restraint [in activities against Israel]. They know how to get to people […] Today we have a space of 100 meters inside the strip in which we operate. At the beginning they [Hamas] demanded that we not go in even one meter, but we sent them a message that the 100 meters is for their own good. It takes away their need to act against Palestinian civilians who might try and disturb public order near the fence.

Today Hamas knows where we operate. We tell them in advance and [Hamas] places its own people on the other side to keep the peace.