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Palestinian Terror Groups Threaten Third Intifada

Hamas outlines conditions to end terror as violence peaks

Masked militants march with guns
Masked militants march with guns / AP
• July 7, 2014 1:50 pm

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Multiple Palestinian terror groups renewed calls for violence against Israel and urged Arabs to rise up over the weekend, causing concern that a third Palestinian intifada could break out amid escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Violence hit new heights over the weekend as Palestinian rioters took to the streets around Jerusalem, and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip continued firing rockets on Israeli civilians.

Arab-Israelis in East Jerusalem rioted and clashed with Israeli police following the death of Arab teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was murdered by Israeli citizens in an apparent revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a radical terror group, dropped leaflets in Khdeir’s hometown of Shuafat, outside Jerusalem, over the weekend in a bid to stoke tensions and incite Arab-Israelis to launch a popular uprising against Israel, otherwise known as an intifada.

PFLP leaders called on Twitter and elsewhere for the "development of popular mobilization into a popular intifada."

The PFLP was among several Palestinian militant groups urging Arabs to take up arms against Israel.

The radical Al-Qassam Brigades released propaganda posters warning Israel that more attacks are imminent.

"All the cities are close to Gaza," read one Hebrew language poster featuring an armed militant carrying rockets.

The Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, an armed offshoot of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee, held a press conference in Gaza over the weekend featuring armed masked militants.

The terror group’s spokesman said that armed Palestinian groups would not sign onto a ceasefire until Israel removes all presence from various territories, according to reports.

The PFLP, in its leaflets to Arabs around Jerusalem, called for citizens to erect "popular defense committees" across the West Bank and Jerusalem "as a means of self-defense" from Israeli attacks, according to a translation of the flyer provided to the Washington Free Beacon by Oren Adaki, an Arabic language specialist at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

The PFLP emphasized the murder of Khdeir and vowed that it would not "pass by without punishment."

The terror group also called on Palestinian Authority security forces to join the fight against Israel and join "the people of Palestine in their confrontation against the violence and terrorism of the [Israeli] settlers," according to the page-long leaflet.

Additionally, it instructed Palestinian civilians "to prepare for a long and hard battle against the occupation and emphasized the importance of transforming Israel's occupation into a failed project," according to Adaki. "The PFLP highlighted the necessity of adopting a popular resistance program focused on the various forms of national struggle that would serve the interests of the Palestinian people."

As riots break out inside Israel, Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip continue to bombard Israel with rocket attacks.

At least 14 rockets hit Israel on Monday morning and several dozen struck over the weekend, bringing the total number of attacks to 150 since June 14, when hostilities first broke out.

Senior Hamas officials said on Monday that the attacks would continue until Israel abides by several conditions.

Hamas will not sign a ceasefire agreement until Israel completely removes its presence from the Gaza Strip and ends its blockade of the territory, which is meant to prevent arms from flowing across the border.

Hamas foreign relations head Osama Hamdan "ruled out the possibility of a large-scale Israeli aggression on Gaza" over the weekend and "warned that his movement might resort to unexpected scenarios in case the reconciliation agreement terms were not implemented in full," according to reports posted on Hamas-affiliated websites.

Terrorism expert Matthew Levitt said that the calls for a new intifada are not likely to resonate with Palestinians.

"If the loudest voice you hear calling for an intifada is the PFLP that’s comment enough on the disinterest among most Palestinians for renewed widespread violence," said Levitt, director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Hamas is seeking to leverage the situation by imposing demands on Israel that cannot be met, Levitt said.

"Hamas is eager to find an issue that will resonate with its constituency, and improve its really desperate situation right now, and it has latched onto the Gaza closure," Levitt said.

"Meanwhile, it is also continuing to try to kidnap Israeli soldiers," he added, noting that Israeli military officials confirmed that six militants killed inside an illegal tunnel last night were preparing to carry out a kidnapping operation.

As violence increases on all sides—including among disparate Palestinian factions—the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah appears to have disintegrated.

"For all intents and purposes the unity government is done," said FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst for the U.S. Treasury Department.

"I don’t see unity," he said. "Cooperation between Hamas and Fatah looks dead, and no one is even talking about whether the unity government is functioning. We’re right back to where we were" before the agreement, when the PA urged restraint in the face of Hamas violence.

Published under: Hamas, Israel