Violence is the quickest way for Palestinians to free themselves from the occupation, said jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Tuesday in a letter he published to mark the 10th anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death.
Palestinians should resort to “comprehensive resistance and the rifle” and end their security cooperation with Israel, said Barghouti.
He is serving five life sentences in prison for his role in terrorist attacks during the second intifada.
His words were part of a sharp exchange of barbs between Israeli and Palestinian leaders throughout the day.
Israel blamed the wave of violence gripping the country on Palestinian incitement, while the Palestinians said that Israel was the root of the problem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman charged that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was exacerbating the issue.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] has again proven that he is irresponsible.
Instead of calming the situation, he is inflaming it. Instead of speaking the truth, he is disseminating lies,” Netanyahu said. “The sad thing is that the international community, which rushes to condemn every balcony that we build in our capital city, simply ignores this wild incitement of Abu Mazen, and thus it encourages him to continue actions that could ignite the entire Middle East.”
Abbas, in turn, accused Israel of instigating a religious war through its actions in Jerusalem.
Addressing Fatah loyalists during a rally in the Mukata presidential compound in Ramallah on Tuesday, Abbas said: “The leaders of Israel are making a grave mistake by thinking that history can move backward and that they could impose facts on the ground by dividing the Aksa Mosque in time and space, as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque [Cave of the Patriarchs] in Hebron.”
Abbas warned that Israel’s actions would plunge the region and the entire world into a destructive religious war. He said that Muslims and Christians would never accept claims that Jerusalem belongs to Israel.
“Jerusalem will only be the capital of a Palestinian state,” he added. “We will preserve Jerusalem and defend its religious sites.”
Abbas said that Palestinians wouldn’t allow settlers and extremists to “contaminate our holy sites.”
Netanyahu dismissed such charges as a “gross lie.”
In the past week, Netanyahu has made multiple public statements assuring Palestinians and the Arab world that al-Aksa compound will remain under the authority of the Wakf Muslim religious trust and that Muslims can continue to worship there.
The prime minister has repeatedly said there will be no changes to the status quo.
Liberman warned that Abbas was more dangerous than his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, whom Israelis considered to be a terrorist.
“Now that 10 years have passed since Arafat’s death, we see that there is no difference between Arafat and Abu Mazen,” Liberman said.
“The two of them hate Jews, believe in terrorism and support terrorism. The only difference between them is that Abu Mazen is more dangerous than Arafat. This is because he knows how to mask his true face,” Liberman said.
Barghouti, in his letter, was clear about his intentions. He urged Palestinians to revive the option of “resistance.” He also called on the PA leadership to boycott Israel and halt security coordination between its security forces and the IDF in the West Bank.
Barghouti said that security coordination with Israel “solidifies occupation and causes huge damage to the national interests of the Palestinian people.”
He said that it was time for the PA to reconsider its functions and tasks. Its first and top mission should be to support “comprehensive resistance” against Israel, he added.
Barghouti called on the Palestinians to stick to Arafat’s legacy, principles, “comprehensive resistance and rifle.”
He wrote that Arafat and slain Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leaders were “martyred while they were still carrying the rifle.”
The top Fatah leader urged PA leadership to take a “brave and immediate” decision to go to the UN Security Council and join all international organizations, first and foremost the International Criminal Court.
“It’s time to stop betting on the mirage of negotiations [with Israel],” Barghouti stressed.
Abbas, in his speech in Ramallah on Tuesday, said that he did intend to seek a Security Council resolution recognizing the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.
The PA leader used the occasion to launch a scathing attack on Hamas. Abbas accused the Hamas leadership of being behind last week’s bombings of the homes and vehicles of 15 senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas held Hamas responsible for the last war in the Gaza Strip by kidnapping and murdering the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. He said that despite the tensions with Hamas, he would pursue his efforts to achieve reconciliation with the movement.
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