Palestinian groups accept 'popular resistance'

Islamic Jihad and Hamas say that while not a substitute for violence, popular resistance is legitimate.

Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Abbas meets Mashaal in Cairo 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Islamic Jihad said Sunday that it would support a Palestinian consensus on strategies of resistance against Israel only as long as they do not become substitutes for violence, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
The comments were made in reference to an
understanding reached by Hamas and Fatah on the importance of popular resistance. According to an official Hamas press release Saturday, the Gaza-based organization recognizes the legitimacy of secondary forms of resistance, which have become more common in the West Bank, but stressed that violence must remain a primary tool against Israel.
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"The armed resistance is Hamas's unchangeable and uncompromisable program, and Hamas will remain adherent to the resistance of all forms including the armed one," stated Ezzat Al-Resheq, member of Hamas's political bureau. "It is the legitimate right of our people and all peoples under occupation,"
The statement comes after Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah, met in Cairo Thursday to spur implementation of a unity deal between the two largest political parties.
The meeting was not as successful as was portrayed, a senior Fatah official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend. “The most important thing was that the two leaders met and agreed to continue talking about reconciliation and unity. It will take a long time before we ever see real changes on the ground.”
The parties were set to join other Palestinian factions in December to move forward with a national program. The Fatah-led government in the West Bank has championed popular resistance strategies including marches and boycotts, while Hamas and other factions maintain that violence is still effective.
In an interview with Ma'an, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said Sunday that the exact date for the cross-factional meeting had yet to be set, as the Hamas delegation to the Cairo talks had not yet returned to Gaza
Radwan added that it is the Palestinian factions who must decide on the ways to challenge Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, but in the end "all aspects of resistance are open and permissible and open to us."
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.