Israeli soldiers walk during clashes with Palestinians in Ramallah in the West Bank, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
The Palestinian leadership on Thursday chose to hold Israel, and not Hamas, responsible for the latest upsurge of violence in the West Bank.
Palestinian officials in Ramallah accused Israel of carrying out “cold-blooded executions” of Palestinians. Israel’s tough security measures, they warned, will escalate tensions and spark another wave of violence in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, several Palestinian groups, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction and Hamas, called for a “day of rage” in the West Bank on Friday to protest Israeli “crimes” and to avenge the killing of Palestinians by the IDF.
Abbas’s office issued a statement in, where it accused Israel of “incitement” against the PA president and carrying out “intrusions” into Palestinian cities. “The climate created by the policy of recurring incursions into Palestinian cities and the incitement against President Abbas, as well as the absence of prospects for peace, has led to this rejected wave of violence, which we condemn,” the statement said. “The two sides are paying the price.”
Ignoring Hamas’s responsibility for the recent terrorist attacks
, Abbas’s statement said: “Our standing policy is to reject violence, incursions and the terrorism of settlers.”
The “incitement” refers to a poster campaign by the far Right group Derech Chaim, which calls for the assassination of Abbas. The posters appeared in various parts of the West Bank on Tuesday, drawing strong condemnations from the PA leadership.
A senior adviser to Abbas told The Jerusalem Post that the activities of the IDF inside Ramallah and other Palestinian cities were “undermining the PA and paving the way for anarchy and lawlessness.”
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah mourned the death of three Palestinians killed by the IDF in the past 24 hours and described them as “martyrs.” He referred to Ashraf Na’awala, the terrorist who killed two Israelis in the Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel, Saleh Barghouti, who is suspected of involvement in this week’s shooting attack outside Ofra, and Majd Jamal Mtair, who stabbed two border police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem early on Thursday.
Hamdallah called on the international community to “immediately intervene to halt the Israeli aggression on Palestinians and their lands.” He said that the silence of the international community has “encouraged Israel to commit more trespasses against international law and legitimacy.”
The PLO leadership held a meeting in Ramallah to discuss what it called “continued Israeli crimes, including extrajudicial killings, incursions into Palestinian cities, arrests and collective punishment.” PLO leaders accused the Israeli government and the IDF of “backing” the campaign of “incitement” against Abbas. They also called on Palestinians to continue their “popular activities to confront this frenzied onslaught” and encouraged Arab countries to end the “policy of normalization” with Israel.
Senior Fatah official Munir al-Jaghoub accused the IDF of carrying out extrajudicial killings in the West Bank and said that the Palestinian response will be “in the same magnitude as these assaults.” Israeli leaders, he said, need to know that they will “not be able to protect their soldiers. They have tried all murderous means to force our people to surrender, but all their attempts have failed. There’s only one way left for Israel to ensure the safety of its soldiers and settlers: a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders.”
In separate statements, Fatah and Hamas called for a “day of rage” in the West Bank on Friday “in solidarity with the blood of the Palestinian martyrs.”
Fatah said that the “ongoing escalation of the occupation and the settler gangs
will not bring them stability or security.” The Palestinians killed by the IDF, Fatah added, “fell in battle to defend the rights of our people.”
Hamas called on Palestinians to engage in clashes with the IDF and settlers in the West Bank. It said that participation in the Friday protests will send a message to Israel that the Palestinians will not forget the blood of the “martyrs” and will stand “united behind the resistance.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that a “new page of blood, fire and gunpowder has been opened” with Israel. The killings of Palestinians by the IDF, he said, “will increase our resolve to expel the occupation from Palestine.”
Hamas’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, said that the Israeli “enemy will not enjoy security and stability in the West Bank.” The group praised the recent terrorist attacks in the West Bank and said that the “resistance” will continue in all parts of the homeland.” It said that Hamas was still capable of carrying out attacks that would “confuse” Israel.
Earlier, Hamas took credit for the terrorist attacks in the Barkan Industrial Park and near Ofra and published statements declaring the two terrorists – Na’awala and Barghouti – as “Hamas martyrs and sons.”
A number of Gaza-based Palestinian groups called on the PA to halt security coordination with Israel and to endorse “all forms of resistance.” The groups hailed the recent terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and said that “resistance was the only way to liberate Palestine.”
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