Palestinian groups and activists have warned that Israel’s practices and settler “assaults” against Palestinians in the West Bank will lead to a new intifada (uprising).
The warning came as clashes between Palestinians and IDF soldiers continued over the weekend in various parts of the West Bank.
Some Palestinian activists said the intifada has already begun and called for escalating “popular resistance” against the IDF and settlers.
“The intifada is already here,” said a senior activist belonging to the ruling Fatah faction. “What we are witnessing in the West Bank is similar to what happened during the First Intifada,” which erupted in 1987.
Another activist affiliated with the PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the growing resentment in the West Bank was also directed toward the Palestinian Authority.
“Many people are angry because the Palestinian Authority is not doing anything to defend them against increasing attacks by the Israeli army and the settlers,” the activist said.
According to Palestinian sources, dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday during clashes with IDF troops in several villages and towns in the northern West Bank.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions, meanwhile, renewed their call for stepping up “all forms of resistance” against Israel.
The PA, for its part, stepped up its criticism of the Jewish state in wake of the growing violence in the West Bank.
“At a time when the Palestinian people and the whole world celebrate Christmas, the settler militias, their armed terrorist organizations, the occupation forces and their various branches continue to escalate the aggression against the Palestinian people, their land, property, homes and holy sites,” the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The ministry claimed that settlers again attacked Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank over the past week “with the participation and support of the occupation army.”
The Israeli government is “fully and directly responsible for this expansionist colonial war,” it said, “which constitutes the true essence of the official Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people and their rights.”
The ministry called on the international community to put pressure on the Israeli government “to stop its aggression and settlement [policy] immediately, and to truly engage in a peace process and negotiations that lead to the end of the occupation within a specific time limit and in accordance with the approved international peace references.”
EARLIER, the PA ministry condemned as a “war crime” the death of a woman north of Ramallah in an apparent car accident involving an Israeli driver. The woman, Ghadeer Masalma, died after being hit by a car near the town of Sinjil. The driver was reportedly afraid to stop near the town, but later reported the accident to the police.
The ministry described the incident as a “hideous extrajudicial killing carried out by a terrorist settler.”
Commenting on the death of Masalma, Hamas threatened that “the escalation of the settlers’ crimes against our people in the West Bank will not remain without a deterrent response from our people.”
Hamas called on Palestinians in the West Bank to continue the “comprehensive resistance in all its forms, especially the armed one, in response to the crimes of the occupation and settlers.”
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also urged Palestinians to confront the “escalating terrorism against our people” being carried out by IDF soldiers and settlers.
The PFLP claimed that what is happening in the West Bank is “in the context of a war of ethnic cleansing with direct orders and full support from the occupation government.”
“This organized terrorism requires the development of popular action in various ways,” the group said in a statement. “We call on all our people to unite in the face of this scheme and the fierce and brutal attacks of settlers.”
The group called on Palestinians to form “popular guard and protection committees to defend our people and repel settlers’ attempts to storm villages and towns.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad also called for the continuation of attacks on IDF soldiers and settlers, saying this will inevitably lead to a “comprehensive intifada.”
Senior PIJ official Sheikh Bassam al-Sa’adi called for intensifying cooperation between all forces and factions to protect our people in the face of conspiracies being hatched against them.”
Sa’adi denounced the security coordination between Israel and the PA security forces, saying it emboldened settlers to increase their “aggression” against Palestinians.