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Hamas official: ‘Mass actions’ planned to fight Israeli annexation

Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri tells the Hamas-linked al-Resalah TV channel that “mass actions” are being planned “in all regions,” in protest against Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.

Al-Arouri does not say what the mass actions might look like. But he says that the crisis may become militarized.

“We cannot exclude the possibility that — in the wake of Israeli aggression — matters may reach a point of escalation in the confrontation, which might lead to military escalation,” al-Arouri says.

Hamas is willing to work with any group to coordinate anti-annexation efforts, al-Arouri says, including the Palestinian Authority.

“The PA should remove any fears that we will take their place in the West Bank. We only want to extend an outstretched hand to join in resisting the occupier,” al-Arouri says.

This week, the two rival Palestinian factions observed the 13th anniversary of their schism, which formally began when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The takeover — which Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh called “a dark coup” on Monday — dissolved the Hamas-Fatah unity government. Subsequent attempts to reconcile the two dueling Palestinian factions have yielded little progress.

— Aaron Boxerman

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