Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to "unite ranks" in efforts to thwart Israel's expected annexation of areas in the West Bank, Arab media reported Monday evening.
According to the reports, the message, delivered by Hamas representative in Lebanon Ahmed Abdel-Hadi to Hezbollah Palestinian file head Hassan Hoballah called on the group to "unite the ranks and efforts to confront the dangers [of the annexation]."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced in May that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was "absolved" of agreements it had signed with Israel and the US, including the Oslo Accords, later terminating its security coordination with the IDF.
After the coordination was terminated, Tanzim, a militant offshoot of the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction, replaced the PA's security forces in enforcing law in some areas of the West Bank.
Established by former PLO leader Yasser Arafat to counter Palestinian Islamism, Tanzim carried out attacks against IDF soldiers and civilians. The Tanzim commander in Eizariya, a town east of Jerusalem near the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement, said the group was not planning to carry out terrorist attacks in response to an annexation.
Following the announcement, the PA's security services began destroying classified files. According to a source cited by AFP, the services were "ordered to destroy confidential documents in our possession and have obeyed this order." The source added the directives came from "high up."
A source cited by the agency reported the decision to shred the sensitive files came amid growing fears that following an annexation, Israel's security forces may carry out raids on Palestinian security offices similar to those that took place during the Second Intifada.
With US President Donald Trump's administration giving Israel the go-ahead to annex 30% of the West Bank, the state was expected to apply its sovereignty to the Jordan Valley as early as July 1. Last week, the Prime Minister's Office said Netanyahu was in talks with the US concerning the plan.
Some 58,000 Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will not receive an Israeli citizenship but will remain in PA enclaves under Israeli military control, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a late-May interview with Israel Hayom.
"They will remain as Palestinian enclaves," the prime minister said, adding that besides Jericho, home to around 20,000 Palestinians, "there is a cluster or two. You do not need to apply sovereignty over them." According to Netanyahu, "they will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But the security control applies to that, too."
Two weeks ago, N12 reported Israel sent a message to Abbas saying the annexation plans would not include the Jordan Valley but will most likely focus on major settlement blocs. According to N12, the likely areas to be annexed by Israel are Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion.
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz reportedly agreed to an annexation only if the move is carried out in coordination with neighboring Jordan and Egypt and is backed by the international community.
If the annexation goes through, Israeli civil law will be applied to the area currently controlled by the IDF's Civil Administration.
“Prior to any measure, we will make sure all professional factors voice their opinion, and in any scenario, we will not support applying sovereignty to areas with a Palestinian population in order to prevent friction,” Gantz said at a meeting with defense officials, according to N12.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh reportedly said there will be a "hot summer" in Israel and the Palestinian territories if an annexation takes place. Last week, the official said the PA would unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in West Bank and the Gaza Strip based on the 1949 armistice lines, also known as the Green Line.
During a video conference held last week, Fatah agreed to cooperate with Hamas, which has been ruling over the Gaza Strip since taking over in a 2007 armed revolt, against an Israeli annexation.
The secular-nationalist Fatah and Islamist Hamas agreed to "lead the battle together to achieve an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and solving the issue of the refugees on the basis of international resolutions."
According to Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen, the representatives called the looming annexation an "aggression against the Palestinian people," and that all were compelled to "stand together in order to confront the plan."
The Palestinian factions are "capable of confronting these plans," the representatives reportedly said, calling on Arab and Muslim countries, as well as those who support the Palestinians, to "take urgent action to curb the occupation's attacks and its continuous aggression against the Palestinian people."
In a Sunday interview with Army Radio, Gantz said Israel "should not look for shortcuts" when it comes to an annexation. "Right now, we need to address the huge crisis we are in," he added.
"There is a Palestinian entity. What do Israelis want?" he said. "Most cannot take the risk of a non-demilitarized Palestinian state, but most do not want to rule over the Palestinians."
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.