A Palestinian boy plays amid the rubble of his familiy's former house, on May 11, 2015, which was destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014, in the Eastern Gaza City Shujaiya neighbourhood. Image Credit: AFP

Ramallah: Israeli military commander in the south, Major General Sami Turgeman, has claimed that Hamas is the sole ruler of the Gaza Strip, stressing there is no other group which could rule over the coastal enclave.

In his comments at a Monday meeting with authority heads from across Israel at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Turgeman said, “There are additional terror organisations in the strip and the campaign against them continues, and in between the fighting and the ‘rounds’ there are periods of silence. But its not bang and we’re done. Most of the citizens in the strip see Hamas as the only solution to their problems. Whoever thinks there could be a national uprising — it doesn’t look likely. The chances it could happen are not high.”

In his comments reported by ynet news, Turgeman maintained, “Gaza has an independent authority that functions like a country; there is a government and an annual plan, with executive bodies and inspection authorities. Within the country there is a ruler that is called Hamas which knows how to exercise power over the other authorities.”

The only effective replacement for Hamas, he warned, “Is the Israeli armed forces and authoritarian chaos. Other than Hamas there is no other axis that could control, (while) the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) cannot rule and this should be taken as an indisputable statement.”

The major general claimed that Hamas has dual aims — quiet in the Gaza Strip accompanied by military build-up.

“Whoever thinks that the struggle between us is just a military one does not understand the issue. Hamas does everything in order to exhaust our society — that is part of their success. Hamas did everything in order to entangle us into using force against them in order to affect the next war.”

In June 2007 and following a brief civil war, the Islamist movement of Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and removed Fatah officials. The short military conflict between Fatah and Hamas resulted in the dissolution of the Palestinian unity government and the de facto division of the Palestinian territories into two entities, the West Bank governed by the PNA and the Gaza governed by Hamas.