GAZA - Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan told Haaretz this week that Hamas is trying to carry out a military coup against the PA.

"When someone tries to take over a police station by means of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, that is an attempted military coup," he said.

Dahlan also said that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Hamas have the same goal: destroying the PA. "For Sharon, Hamas is the easiest enemy. With Abu Mazen it's harder for him. That's why Sharon is weakening the PA and strengthening the logic of Hamas. He says that Abu Mazen is weak? It's his job to strengthen him. He has to do something serious to strengthen the peace camp in Palestinian society. Is the security situation better today than it was four months ago? And what have you done? Nothing."

Dahlan accuses Sharon and his advisor, Dov Weissglas, of wanting to destroy the peace process through disengagement.

"If you brought General Montgomery to maintain security, he wouldn't do any better. What [Sharon] didn't succeed in doing in four years, he is demanding of Abu Mazen in six months. If you ask whether the PA can stop all the terror, the obvious answer is no. Anyone who says otherwise is lying."

Dahlan admits that Hamas is stronger today in Gaza than the PA. "I'm surprised that the PA hasn't collapsed yet," he says.