Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed PA security forces to confront Israeli troops and settlers if they enter Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, a senior PA official said on Tuesday.
“President Abbas instructed the security services to confront the occupation forces and settlers,” Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the executive leadership of the Fatah party and the Palestine Liberation Organization told the Palestinian Satellite Channel. “We stress the importance of the national resistance,” he added.
“If they enter our lands, don’t hesitate to confront them,” al-Ahmad said, apparently referring to Abbas’s instructions regarding Area A of the West Bank.
“The best example is what is going on in Nablus [where battles between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen have taken place in the northern West Bank city], and even in Huwara,” the site of a violent extremist settler riot, he said.
“Not long ago, they [PA security forces] fought with them [Israeli soldiers] in Huwara,” he claimed, without giving details.
The Israeli security establishment has long hailed coordination with PA forces as critical for combating terror and maintaining stability in the West Bank. Abbas recently cut ties following a deadly Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank that killed nine Palestinians, including at least one civilian.
At a summit in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on Sunday, Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed to take steps to resume coordination.
While the talks were ongoing, a deadly Palestinian terror attack near Nablus on Sunday killed two Israeli brothers. After that, settlers ran riot through Huwara and nearby towns, with the violence leaving one Palestinian dead and several others badly injured, as well as torching homes and cars, and killing sheep.
The military has bolstered the West Bank with four additional infantry battalions following the attack and subsequent settler rioting in Huwara.
Last Wednesday, 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 80 wounded in a gun battle when Israeli troops raided Nablus to arrest terror operatives. Palestinian terror groups said at least seven of those killed were their operatives. Another three were confirmed to have been civilians.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
There has also been a rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months.
Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.