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Fatah: Palestinian Authority supports escalating popular resistance

Feb. 25, 2013 9:55 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 11:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority supports and helped organized an escalation in popular resistance in the West Bank, a senior Fatah official said Sunday.

"Resistance is a natural right and we agree unanimously on escalating popular resistance," Azzam al-Ahmad told the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen satellite channel.

Al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said the Palestinian Authority had helped escalate popular resistance in the West Bank.

He said the PA may complain to the UN Security Council over the death of 30-year-old Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody on Saturday.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe said Sunday that Jaradat died as result of extreme torture. The Palestinian Authority state pathologist was present at the autopsy on Jaradat's body, which was carried out in Israel.

"There were marks of torture on the back, marks of torture on the chest, a deep wound on the upper side of the shoulder, wounds alongside the spine and marks of torture underneath the skin," Qaraqe said, based on the Palestinian doctor's basic findings.

Al-Ahmad said Jaradat's death would further deteriorate the situation, which was already tense amid protests over the plight of four Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

He said the ongoing unrest could lead to a third intifada, "and if that happens, Israel's arrogance will be the cause."

Thousands protested Jaradat's death across the West Bank and Gaza on Sunday, and dozens of Palestinians were injured in violent clashes with the Israeli army.

The committee for popular resistance in Palestine on Monday called for more protests and solidarity tents in response to Jaradat's death.

The committee said Israel had killed Jaradat to put down strikes by Palestinian detainees. "This crime committed by Israel will receive its punishment," it said in a statement.

Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti said Monday that escalating protests were "a natural development of popular non-violent resistance into a popular non-violent intifada and there is nothing left for Palestinians but to use their popular resistance to get their freedom.

"The Israelis have left no door open for Palestinians. They've killed every possibility for peace during the last 20 years, throughout the so-called Oslo process," Barghouti told Ma'an.

"They are using settlements and Israeli army violence to provoke Palestinians and suppress them. We counted tens of cases of people hit with live ammunition in the last week,"

Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said the international community had ignored the Palestinian issue "and Palestinians have realized they are to rely on themselves."

He added: "The atmosphere is similar to the first intifada: it's popular, non-violent and massive and will spread all over the Palestinian territories."
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