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Palestinian factions condemn PA crackdown on attacks against Israel

Jan. 22, 2016 3:42 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2016 1:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian factions on Thursday condemned a Palestinian Authority official who said that PA security forces had aborted 200 potential attacks on Israelis since October.

The Hamas movement, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in a joint press release said that the remarks by PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj constituted “an insult to the struggle and sacrifices of Palestinians.”

The PA official made the remarks during an interview with US-based magazine Defense News, where he also said that PA forces had, in addition, confiscated weapons and detained around 100 Palestinians.

The factions said that Faraj’s remarks “reflected the state of monopoly exerted by the PA over the Palestinian national decision.”

“They [the PA] disregard the national consensus that rejects all relations between PA and the Israeli occupation,” the political groups said, rejecting attempts by the PA to "gain Israeli endorsement” through security cooperation.

The Fatah-dominated PA and Israeli forces have worked in coordination since the Oslo Accords in 1993, which planned for a gradual power transfer of the occupied West Bank from Israeli forces to the PA over the next five years.

Over 10 years on, Thursday’s condemnation is the most recent criticism by Hamas and other groups who have accused the PA of aligning with Israel's goals in the occupied West Bank, and most recently of preventing a sustained uprising against Israel.

PA leadership has yet to openly support or reject a series of attacks that have taken place by individual Palestinians against Israeli military and civilians, but has been accused of facilitating the arrest of potential attackers by Israel as well as preventing demonstrations against Israeli military.

Faraj during his interview with Defense News also said that the PA had over the past few months put forth efforts to prevent the establishment of a base for the Islamic State group in the occupied West Bank, which he said could trigger the collapse of the PA.

Warnings that the PA is on the brink of collapse due to a wave of unrest, Palestine's economic crisis, and a political crisis in the Palestinian leadership.have been echoed by Palestinian and Israeli officials alike for months.

As IS and other extremist elements have spread across neighboring countries in the Middle East, Palestinian leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip have voiced concern over the potential growth of extremism in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Despite the concern, support for the Islamic State group remains minuscule among Palestinians, according to recent polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

PLO Central Council member Muhammad Shtayyeh said last month that while extremist groups have yet to take hold in the popular Palestinian public, such a reality could not be guaranteed if both the Israeli occupation and Palestinian political woes were not addressed.
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