Stop urging violence, Abbas tells Fatah militant leaders

In meeting with local Tanzim heads, PA leader forbids use of arms in struggle against Israel, tells others to stop incitement to terror attacks

Avi Issacharoff

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Illustrative: A Palestinian hurls a Molotov cocktail toward Israeli security forces during clashes, near the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the leaders of his Fatah movement’s Tanzim militant wing Sunday to immediately work to calm spiraling tensions with Israel.

According to Palestinian sources, he demanded that the Tanzim representatives, who serve as heads of local branches of the paramilitary group throughout the West Bank, avoid using violence in the struggle against Israel.

Tanzim was founded by Fatah leaders and is loyal to the Palestinian faction, which is headed by Abbas. It gained prominence as a fighting force and a terror organization during the Second Intifada.

Tanzim leaders are thought to be key organizers of many of the protests taking place in the West Bank in recent days, protests that have drawn thousands and swelled the ranks of Palestinians clashing with IDF forces in multiple West Bank cities.

Israeli officials have charged that Tanzim leaders, including the organization’s local leaders, encouraged the growing protests, in part to prevent rival group Hamas from gaining control of developments in the Palestinian street.

Abbas has said several times he is working to calm tensions and doesn’t want to see violent unrest spread, though Israeli officials accuse him of inciting a spate of terror attacks and violent West Bank clashes.

Abbas has also spoken in recent days to Fatah leaders who have led calls for more terror attacks against Israelis, including Mahmoud al-Alul and Sultan Abu al-Inin, and demanded that they cease making statements in support of such attacks.

Both al-Alul and Abu al-Inin lauded the Hamas attack outside the West Bank settlement of Itamar earlier this month in which Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were gunned down in front of their four children.

A number of Fatah propaganda posters have also seemed to encourage stabbing attacks against Israelis.

On Sunday, a senior Shin Bet official told the security cabinet that Abbas is not taking part in the incitement to terror attacks and is actively working to prevent further violence and terror attacks.

Abbas told EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in a phone call Sunday that “he is determined to keep the situation under control,” according to an EU statement.

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