Hamas is calling for an escalation in violence against Israelis, including suicide bombings.
By: Lauren Calin, World Israel News
Hamas has instructed its members in Nablus and Hebron to carry out suicide attacks against Israelis in the hopes of escalating the current wave of terrorism into an intifada, increasing its prominence in the Palestinian political arena. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s political rivals with Fatah are also praising terrorism in order to improve their public standing.
Israeli officials told local media that Hamas will likely attempt a large-scale terrorist attack. A Palestinian source added that the Palestinian Authority recently arrested a Hamas cell of at least six men based in Hebron. The terrorists were found with weapons and large amounts of cash and admitted to be willing to die.
The recent terrorist attacks have generally been small-scale, unorganized attacks, primarily stabbings and rock-throwing. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar called on Sunday for a third intifada, telling Palestinians to replace rocks and knives with guns and explosives. An escalation into more organized terrorism would benefit Hamas. Although Hamas is still the primary organizer of Palestinian terrorist attacks, it has been losing ground to lone-wolf terrorists and unaffiliated cells. An intifada would also increase Hamas’s political influence.
At the same time, senior Fatah official and Abbas rival Jibril al-Rajoub praised the terrorists carrying stabbing and rock-throwing attacks, but opposed large-scale attacks due to PR considerations. “I am proud of [the terrorist attacks] and congratulate anyone who committed them,” he told Palestinian television. He noted that the international community reacts negatively to bus bombings in Tel Aviv, but that, “The world doesn’t ask about a settler or soldier who is in occupied territories at the wrong place and the wrong time. No one asks about that.”