Mohamed Shtayyeh, a former Palestinian Authority minister and top Fatah
official, declared over the weekend that the PA leadership would step up its
encouragement of "popular, unarmed resistance" against Israel while pursuing its
commitment to achieve peace.
His declaration came amid growing talk about
the possibility that the Palestinians were close to launching a third
"Without increasing the cost of the occupation to the Israelis,
they will not be in a position to withdraw," Shtayyeh told guests at a Christmas
dinner in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.
Shtayyeh, who previously
served as member of the PA negotiating team with Israel, said that Fatah was
headed toward ending its dispute with Hamas.
"We are going into the direction of
reconciliation. For the first time, I myself, I feel hopeful that this is going
to be possible," he said.