Israel claims leaders of PA, Hamas ‘united’ in support for Palestinian terrorism

In monthly ‘incitement report,’ Strategic Affairs Ministry accuses both Gaza and West Bank factions of driving spate of deadly attacks in West Bank

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror group, attend a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City, December 16, 2018. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror group, attend a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City, December 16, 2018. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

A report published by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs on Sunday claimed that the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were “united” in the support for Palestinian terrorism.

The ministry’s “incitement report” for the months of October and November said there was a “sharp increase” in calls by the Hamas terrorist group to carry out attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.

In a statement ahead of the report’s publication on Sunday, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh of being “united” in their support for Palestinian terrorism.

“Ismail Haniyeh and [Abbas] are united in their support for terrorism,” Erdan said in a statement. “One sends terrorists to murder Israelis and the other pays the terrorists’ families.”

Erdan said his ministry’s report “exposes the murderous incitement spread by the PA and Hamas,” and called for European countries to stop backing the PA, “until Abbas stops spreading murderous incitement.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, on September 13, 2018. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

The report said that, along with other armed factions in the Gaza Strip, Hamas had stepped up calls for violent attacks in recent weeks, which in turn, the ministry said, led to the spate of deadly terror attacks in the West Bank. The report highlighted various cartoons published Gazan media outlets praising terrorists who carried out attacks as “heroic.”

The report also slammed the PA for siding with its rival Hamas last week to thwart a UN resolution, and accused Abbas’s government of encouraging the attacks against Israelis, saying such rhetoric was at an “all time high” among PA officials.

The report was published following a spate of deadly terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank last week.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 28, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

On Sunday, seven people were wounded by gunfire in a drive-by shooting, including a pregnant woman, outside the settlement of Ofra. The woman’s baby was delivered prematurely in an emergency operation, but died on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others — a civilian and another soldier — were severely injured in another shooting attack near Ofra.

Hamas, a Gaza Strip-based terror group which has for years called on Palestinians to stir up a confrontation with Israel in the West Bank, and its officials have indicated their members were behind at least two of the recent shooting attacks.

Though Abbas has long said he opposes violence against Israelis and supports peaceful protest against its military rule, Israeli government officials blame the PA leader for fostering a climate of incitement and have slammed his failure to condemn every attack.

Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (3rd-R) waves upon his arrival at a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas’ founding, in Gaza City December 16, 2018. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Israel and the United States have also strongly denounced the PA practice of paying stipends to the families of Palestinian prisoners, including convicted terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians.

On Saturday, Abbas said in a speech at his presidential residence in Ramallah that his government did not “believe in war, weapons, missiles, planes or tanks,” and that Palestinians instead support “popular resistance” against Israel’s military rule.

In September, Abbas told Israeli peace activists that he supports Israel’s security, underlining that the Palestinian and the Israeli security forces work together “on a daily basis” and that he and his people “do anything possible so that no Israeli gets hurt,” according to Peace Now, whose executive director attended the meeting.

Since the Second Intifada, both Israel and the PA have come down heavily on much of Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank. On Friday, PA police cracked down on a Hamas protest in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, beating demonstrators with batons and throwing stun grenades.

In the wake of last week’s deadly attacks, a spokesman from Abbas’s Fatah party urged Palestinians to ignore Hamas calls for a new armed uprising against Israel in the West Bank, urging them to instead step up peaceful protests against the Jewish state’s military rule.

“We need to be smart…and not listen to the talk of the demagogues about the necessity of going to an armed confrontation,” Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasma told the official Palestine TV on Thursday night. “My words are candid. We must escalate popular resistance in the Palestinian lands.”

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