Israel and the Palestinians are headed toward another round of street clashes if
peace efforts spearheaded by US Secretary of State John Kerry fail, the mayor of
Nablus told Israel Radio on Saturday.
Ghassan Shaka’a, who has also
served as a veteran functionary in the PLO, said Palestinians in the West Bank
will take to the streets and demonstrate against Israel if the peace process
“[Kerry] is a man for peace,” the Nablus mayor said.
“Give him the chance to succeed. By sticking to this course, we may end up
losers, but we won’t be the only losers.”
Shaka’a said that in the event
street demonstrations do take place, the Palestinian Authority is likely to join
in. He said that the combination of a stalled diplomatic process and the
slowdown in the Palestinian economy will lead to a confrontation.
losing popularity,” Shaka’a said. “We have always offered the people a
diplomatic horizon, but now we are operating solely by dint of orders we receive
from [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas].”
that the lack of progress on the peace front is boosting Hamas’s popularity in
the West Bank.
“Their power depends on the Israeli activities,” the mayor
said. “As long as the Israeli side says “no” to peace negotiations, then it is
telling the moderate people, ‘Go to [Hamas’s] side.’” Jamal Tirawi, a
Palestinian legislator from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, told Israel
Radio that Israel’s actions on the ground, including army raids and incursions
into Palestinian towns as well as the Israeli government’s refusal to release
Palestinian prisoners, harm the credibility of the Ramallah government in the
eyes of its own people.
“The people here don’t believe in the PA right
now,” he said. “Why should they? There’s no progress on the peace front. Who is
the one that is giving Hamas hope right now? It’s the Israeli
“Abbas has asked Israel to release prisoners, but was
refused,” said Tirawi, who is a member of Tanzim, the armed faction of Fatah and
a veteran operative. In 2007 he was arrested and convicted by Israel for
recruiting suicide bombers for the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, only to be later
“Hamas, by the use of force, took [IDF soldier Gilad] Schalit
and managed to free prisoners.
“We have no wish for a third intifada and
we don’t want war,” he said. “Israel won’t have a better opportunity than now