Palestinian Authority: We haven’t lost control; Israel caused escalation

The PA has often come under criticism from many Palestinians because of its refusal to halt security coordination with Israel.

 Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Dajan, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on June 24, 2022 (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Dajan, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on June 24, 2022
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

Palestinian officials on Sunday dismissed claims by Israeli security sources that the Palestinian Authority has lost control of areas in the northern West Bank, especially in Jenin and Nablus, and warned of more violence and bloodshed due to Israel’s ongoing counter-terrorism operations.

In response to reports that Israel was pressuring the PA to rein in the armed groups, the officials said Palestinian security forces would not act as Israel’s “security agent.”

“We have entered a new phase in our relations with Israel,” said PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani. “There is no political process and Israel is no longer fulfilling its obligations in accordance with the signed agreements [with the Palestinians]. There’s no reason why only one party should abide by the agreements.”

“There is no political process and Israel is no longer fulfilling its obligations in accordance with the signed agreements [with the Palestinians]. There’s no reason why only one party should abide by the agreements.”

Ahmed Majdalani

Majdalani said the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians has “returned to its natural aspect – between an occupier and an occupied people engaged in a struggle to confront the occupation.”

The PA has often come under criticism from many Palestinians because of its refusal to halt security coordination with Israel.

 IDF demolishing the home of Ra'ad Hazem, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the Tel Aviv attack in April which killed three people, September 6, 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF demolishing the home of Ra'ad Hazem, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the Tel Aviv attack in April which killed three people, September 6, 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A senior Palestinian official said that Israel’s security crackdown aims to undermine the PA and make it appear as if it is no longer in control of the situation.

“The Palestinian security forces cannot take any measures while the Israeli Army is raiding cities, villages and refugee camps and arresting and killing Palestinians on a daily basis,” said the official. “Israel is playing with fire and this could lead to a new intifada.”

The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced Israel for holding the Palestinians responsible for the escalation.

“This is an [Israeli] attempt to evade responsibility as part of Israel’s official misleading campaigns.”

Is Israel using a military-security approach instead of a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The ministry accused Israel of adopting a military-security approach in dealing with the Palestinian issue as an alternative to political solutions to the conflict.

“The occupation regularly targets Palestinian citizens with the worst forms of persecution and oppression without being held accountable,” it charged. “This is part of an Israeli strategy to escalate the conflict. The Israeli government held is fully and directly responsible for the escalation.”

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Central Committee of the ruling Fatah faction, also warned that Israel’s actions would lead to a “mass popular explosion.”

“The crimes committed by the occupation authorities and the settlers against our people threaten to ignite the region with more violence,” Zaki cautioned.

He called on the international community and its human rights institutions to intervene “to put an end to the shedding of Palestinian blood and the continuation of the crimes of the occupation authorities against our people and their Islamic and Arab lands and holy sites.”

Zaki said that Israel would bear full responsibility for the repercussions of its actions.

Tayseer Khaled, another senior PLO official, claimed that Israel was in a “state of confusion” because of the security deterioration in the West Bank.

“In the past few months, the occupation army has launched campaigns of raids and arrests in various parts of the West Bank, focusing on Nablus and Jenin. Why? Because the West Bank, including Jerusalem, is where local resistance cells operate. These cells are organized by Palestinian youth of the post-Second Intifada generation,” Khaled said.

“This generation has become the most prominent challenge to the occupation. It’s a courageous and fearless generation that has lost confidence in any political process and has become more convinced that armed resistance is the most appropriate way to confront the occupation and settlements.”

Khaled also warned of an “explosion” in the West Bank if Israel continues to deal with the situation there only as a security problem. He ruled out the possibility that Israeli attempts to strengthen the PA would contribute to easing the tensions.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, meanwhile, renewed their calls to Palestinians to step up their attacks against IDF soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.

The two groups said in separate statements in response to the death of Palestinian gunman Hamad Abu Jildeh – who died early Sunday of wounds he sustained during clashes with IDF troops in Jenin last week – that his killing wouldn’t stop the Palestinians from continuing the “resistance.”

“The battle waged by our Palestinian people and their resistance against the criminal occupation continues unabated, and that the blood of the martyrs will not be in vain,” Hamas said.

Islamic Jihad, for its part, said it would “continue to follow the path of martyrs, regardless of the sacrifices, until the end of the occupation.”