Youth holds stone as Palestinians clash with IDF in the West Bank.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday instructed Palestinian Authority forces to take measures to prevent a further security deterioration in the West Bank.
Abbas issued the instructions during a meeting in Ramallah with commanders of the PA security forces and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
He told the commanders to be on alert “so as not to give a chance to Israeli schemes aimed at escalating the situation and instigating violence,” his office said.
Abbas instructed the security forces to take a number of measures to “ensure security for the homeland and the people,” the office said.
The statement did not refer to the Shin Bet’s arrest of the Hamas cell that murdered the Henkin couple near Itamar last week. Nor did it mention the recent stabbing attacks in Jerusalem.
Following the upsurge in violence in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday that it is not seeking to ignite a third intifada against Israel. It also said that Hamas was behind the latest escalation.
The announcement came as Abbas called for international protection for the Palestinians “before matters get out of control.” Abbas’s appeal came during a phone conversation with United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday.
A statement released by Abbas’s office late Sunday stopped short of condemning or making any reference to the recent terrorist attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Instead, it accused Israel of seeking to drag the region toward violence “to rid itself of its political crisis and international isolation.” The statement also accused Israel and settlers of perpetrating “crimes” against Palestinians and the Aksa Mosque.
The PA government in Ramallah issued a statement condemning Israel for the killing of the two Palestinians who carried out the stabbing attacks in Jerusalem, but ignored the fact that Israelis had been killed in the attacks.
Nimer Hammad, a senior adviser to Abbas, said the PA leadership “does not want to ignite a third intifada.” He claimed Israel wants to instigate violence to show that the PA leadership is the one inciting unrest.
Hammad held Hamas responsible for the ongoing tensions, but did not elaborate.
He said, however, that some Palestinians were seeking an all-out confrontation with Israel in order to trigger more violence.
The PA Foreign Ministry, for its part, accused the Israeli government of incitement against Palestinians and violation of international laws.
The ministry called on the international community to assume its responsibilities regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “irresponsible actions.”
Ahmed Assaf, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, said Netanyahu’s recent threats “wouldn’t move a hair on the head of the youngest Palestinian youth.”
“Netanyahu is living under an illusion if he thinks that his threats will scare us and allow him to pass his conspiracies and schemes against our people,” Assaf said.
In the Gaza Strip, several Palestinian factions on Monday called for the continuation of “heroic operations” in Jerusalem and the West Bank as a “strategic option.” The factions urged the PA to stop pursuing Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israel in the West Bank.
At a press conference in Gaza City, representatives of the armed factions also appealed to the PA to immediately suspend security coordination with Israel, and called on Palestinians to “escalate the intifada” against Israel.