Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Wednesday called on Palestinians to step up the “resistance” attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.
The call came in response to increased IDF counter-terrorism operations in the West Bank.
A senior Palestinian official, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility that the Palestinian Authority security forces would move to disarm armed groups in the northern West Bank.
The official told The Jerusalem Post that the PA leadership has come under pressure from Israel and some international parties to take action against the gunmen, most of whom belong to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the ruling Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“If Israel wants the violence to stop, it should stop sending its soldiers every night to arrest and shoot young Palestinians,” said the official. “We can’t do anything while Israel is continuing to escalate its military operations.”
On Wednesday morning, soldiers shot and killed 21-year-old Yunis Ghassan al-Tayeh in the town of Tubas in the northern West Bank after he reportedly hurled an explosive device at them.
“The West Bank battle continues with full force in defense of the land and the holy sites,” Hamas said in a statement.
“The West Bank battle continues with full force in defense of the land and the holy sites.”Hamas
Hamas is proud of Palestinian 'martyrs'
Expressing pride in the Palestinian “martyrs” killed by the IDF, Hamas urged Palestinians in the West Bank to continue to support the “heroic battle” against soldiers and settlers. It also called on Palestinian gunmen to continue “confronting” IDF troops who enter Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps as part of the crackdown on terrorism.
Islamic Jihad, for its part, mourned the death of Tayeh, whom it described as “our son and martyr.”
The group called on all Palestinians to “close ranks” and work towards escalating the “resistance” against Israeli soldiers and settlers.
The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of various armed groups, also called on Palestinians to step up the terrorist attacks against “the Zionist enemy and the criminal settlers.”
The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) warned that Israel’s increased security crackdown, especially in the northern West Bank, “will result in more popular resistance [against Israel] in all its forms.”
The DFLP accused Israel of waging a “blatant war” against the Palestinians under the pretext of combating terrorism.
“This is happening at a time when the occupying state is committing organized terrorism against our people,” the Marxist-Leninist terrorist group argued in a statement.
The PA, whose security forces haven’t moved to disarm the large number of armed groups in the Nablus and Jenin areas, said Israel “bears full responsibility” for the current flare-up of violence.
It warned that Israel’s ongoing military operations in the West Bank would lead to an “explosion” and a new cycle of violence.
“What is happening on the ground [in the West Bank] should sound an alarm bell with the international community because this is a threat to the two-state solution,” the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
The ministry claimed that the crackdown on gunmen was part of an Israeli “attempt to force the Palestinians to surrender and accept the occupation and settlements.”