Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at a meeting in Ramallah on March 19, 2018.
(photo credit: PPO)
Sunday night’s terrorist attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra took place in an area under Israeli military control, a senior Palestinian Authority security official said on Monday, adding that it would be “inconceivable” to hold the PA responsible.
His remarks came as several Palestinian groups applauded the "heroic operation," saying it proves that the Palestinian "resistance" was continuing in the West Bank.
“The Palestinian Authority can’t be held responsible for something that takes place in an area where it has no security control,” the official told The Jerusalem Post
The official refused to say whether the PA security forces were helping Israel in the manhunt for the terrorists who opened fire on a group of settlers, wounding seven, including a pregnant woman.
On Monday afternoon, IDF troops entered parts of Ramallah and its twin city, Al-Bireh, and confiscated surveillance cameras installed on a number of buildings. The PA’s official news agency Wafa reported that soldiers stormed its offices, fired tear gas and stun grenades and prevented employees from leaving.
As of Monday night, the PA did not comment on the terrorist attack. However, a PA official pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas last Saturday again expressed opposition to the use of weapons against Israel.
Addressing an anti-corruption conference in Ramallah, Abbas said: “We don’t believe in war; we don’t believe in weapons; we don’t believe in rockets, and we don’t believe in warplanes and tanks. Believe me, what we are doing is more important than all these things.”
Abbas said that he had phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer his condolences over a terrorist attack in which two Israelis were killed in Jerusalem last year. The PA president did not say which terrorist attack he was referring to. In July 2017, two Israeli police officers were shot dead in an attack on the Temple Mount that was carried out by three terrorists.
On Monday, the PA Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning settlers and the IDF for their “crimes” against Palestinians. It claimed that settlers, under the guard of the IDF, carried out dozens of “incursions” in various parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem. According to the ministry, the “incursions” included visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
“These recurring incursions demand the attention of international human rights organizations and the countries that singed the Geneva Conventions,” the PA statement said. “These incursions reflect aforethought Israeli government decisions to seize more Palestinian lands or to take control or change the identity or divide several Palestinian historical and religions sites.”
Meanwhile, several Palestinian groups have “welcomed” the terrorist attack near Ofra.
Hamas officials said that the attack proved that the Palestinian “resistance” in the West Bank was still alive. “This heroic operation shows that the Palestinian resistance is capable of inflicting pain on the occupation,” said Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou. “This operation affirms the legitimacy of our people’s option of resisting the occupation and the herds of settlers.”
Referring to the failure of a US resolution to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attacks at the UN General Assembly last week, the Hamas spokesman said that the attack also shows that any attempt to denounce Hamas was doomed to failure.
Another Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, praised the attack near Ofra and called it a “qualitative operation.” The attack, he said, is an “expression of the spirit of resistance" in the West Bank. “This qualitative operation is a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and holy sites,” he added. “We salute the pure hands that carried out this operation.”
The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of various Palestinian terrorist groups, also “welcomed” the attack, dubbing it an “heroic operation.” The group said that the attack, which came on the 31st anniversary of the eruption of the First Intifada, was aimed at sending a message that the Palestinians will not surrender and will “not lay down the rifle.” It also called on the PA to provide protection for Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israel.
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group said that the attack showed that the Palestinian “resistance” in the West Bank remains “deeply rooted and is not spontaneous.” The group said that the “brave and heroic” attack was a severe blow to the Israeli security forces in the West Bank.
Another PLO terror group, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, sent its greeting to the terrorists who carried out the attack, and said it was very proud of them. The Palestinians, it said, were entitled to “resist the occupation in all forms.” The group called for “escalating the intifada and all forms of resistance in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.”
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