The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected calls by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for a so-called “third intifada” in Judea and Samaria, saying it would “not allow the West Bank to become an arena for chaos to serve a private agenda.”
Asharq al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London, reports that 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 order to deflect attention from the crisis in Gaza caused by the fall of the Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, says the Arabic publication.
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?”
“Intifada,” an Arabic term meaning “shaking off the yoke,” has been used to describe a violent uprising in 1987-1993 and a murderous terror war in 2000-2009 that killed 1,178 Israelis, 70% of them civilians, in over 20,000 attacks that included 144 suicide bombings.
The “West Bank” is the term that was used to refer to the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria when it was under Jordanian occupation, in 1949-1967.
Abu Ubaidah, a spokesman for the armed 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.”
However, the PA reportedly that said its priority was “to pursue reconciliation” – a reference to reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah – “and achieve peace through negotiations.”
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.”
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.”
By calling for “reconciliation,” Fatah is in effect calling on Hamas to recognize Fatah and the Ramallah-based government as the sole legitimate ruler of the PA. Hamas took over Gaza in a violent uprising against Fatah in 2007.