Monday, September 30, 2013
Palestinian Authority rejects Hamas calls for intifada in the West Bank
Calls from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for a "third intifada" to confront Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque are rejected by other Palestinian groups
A Palestinian child takes part in a march organised by the ruling Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza’s Nusseirat refugee camp on September 27, 2013, in commemoration of the September 28, 2000, outbreak of the devastating second intifada. (TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)
Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected calls by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for a third intifada in the West Bank, saying it would “not allow the West Bank to become an arena for chaos to serve a private agenda.”
The calls came following rising tension over continued attempts by Israeli extremists to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Opponents have accused Hamas of calling for the intifada in the West Bank in order to deflect attention from the crisis in Gaza caused by the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt. There has also been speculation that the group is trying to put pressure on the PA in the West Bank.
A source within the PA said: “The Israelis are present around Gaza, and Hamas can start an intifada there. So why does it ban resistance in Gaza while it calls for an intifada in the West Bank?”
Abu Ubaidah, a spokesman for the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said his group would be “at the heart of the new intifada.”
A member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ahmed Al-Mudallal, said: “Resistance in Palestine is the spearhead in the confrontation with the Zionist project which targets Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the whole of Palestine.”
The PA said its priority was to pursue reconciliation and achieve peace through negotiations, a position which was reiterated by President Mahmoud Abbas in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 26.
Hamas said it would not accept any agreement which led to the recognition of Israel, and that it would not relinquish the rights to religious sites in any shape or form.
A Hamas statement seen by Asharq Al-Awsat said: “We will not recognize any agreement or promises that lead to the recognition of the enemy, and we will not recognize any agreements at the expense of our land, rights and religious sites. Palestine—the whole of Palestine, from the sea to the river—is the property of Palestinian people and our nation, and no usurper has any right to a speck of dust of its territory.”
The statement added that “negotiations and security coordination with the Zionist enemy form a cover for the continuation of the occupation’s crimes against our territory, our people, and our religious sites. We call upon all Palestinian forces and factions to reject the path of these wasteful negotiations, which have proved their failure to achieve our people’s dreams, and only brought them more waste, loss and division in the face of the occupation’s crimes and plans.”
Hamas called on the Fatah Movement to “end negotiations and security coordination with the enemy and to return to resistance, national reconciliation and Palestinian unity.”
Hamas also reiterated that resistance was the only strategic option capable of defeating the occupation, and that it was “the best retaliation to the occupation’s continuous crimes in the West Bank and Jerusalem . . . and that what was taken by force, can only be taken back by force.”
However, Fatah said reconciliation and Palestinian unity were the best the way to a Palestinian state. Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee of the Fatah Movement, Jibril Al-Rujoub, said: “The Fatah Movement will remain committed to Palestinian unity and will continue to work for the unity of the people, territory and the Palestinian leadership, which is represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
In a statement seen by Asharq Al-Awsat, he added that “those who call for transitional reconciliation are the ones who want division to continue in order to protect their own interests at the expense of the Palestinian project, and they must understand the regional and international changes, including the collapse of political Islam, and must reconsider their positions and put national interest first.”