Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party is mulling resuming its participation in armed attacks on Israelis, and the development is only a matter of time, a senior Palestinian source said, according to Israel Radio.
The radio quoted the unnamed source as saying that Fatah and its affiliated terrorist group Tanzim will eventually join the recent wave of grassroots terror assaults by Palestinians against Israelis, which have taken place on an almost daily basis for the past three months.
Although most members of the Fatah Central Committee are against launching attacks and prefer to wait and see how current events things play out, the source said, sooner or later they will need to take part in what is happening on the ground. When that comes, Fatah will no longer have a choice, and Hamas will also feel more at liberty to launch armed attacks, he predicted.
In such a situation, he warned, what is happening now would only be the tip of the iceberg, the radio reported.
Abbas could cut off security coordination with Israel, the source speculated, and there is no chance at all that US President Barack Obama will see a restart of negotiations during what is left of his term.
The source explained that today’s Palestinian youths, who once might have been persuaded to join the police to build security for a future state, became disillusioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments before the Israeli general elections earlier this year, in which he vowed there would not be a Palestinian state on his watch. Although Netanyahu later retracted the comments, the damage was done.
He said Netanyahu’s comment was the moment when the leadership lost the Palestinian street, thereby sealing its own fate.
Suicide attacks, which killed several hundred Israelis during the Second Intifada, could make a comeback once the various Palestinian terror groups start competing with one another for popular support, he said.
The Palestinian leadership is also concerned that the PA may soon collapse, the source said.
He said that only a blind person could ignore the recent survey that found two-thirds of Palestinians want Abbas to leave his position — a reference to a poll published earlier this month by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
The survey found that 65% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, and indicated that he would lose to Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas in a presidential election.
Abbas’s mandate expired in 2009, but no vote is scheduled because of divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas.
Since September, Palestinians have carried out attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces including stabbings, shootings, and car-ramming attacks. More than 20 Israelis have been killed and dozens injured in the terror attacks. Among Palestinians, over 100 have been killed, most of them as they carried out attacks, and the rest in violent riots with security forces.
Tanzim was founded by Fatah and is loyal to the PA leader. It gained notoriety as a fighting force and a terror organization during the Second Intifada, a violent Palestinian uprising during 2000-2005 in which thousands of Israelis and Palestinians were killed.
AFP contributed to this report.