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Fatah, PLO are planning for a third intifada - PMW

Donna Rachel Edmunds  |

A third intifada is being planned by Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other Palestinian groups, PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf confirmed following a meeting of group members last week, according to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

The confirmation follows previous statements in which Palestinian leaders have warned that Israel's plans to claim sovereignty over parts of the West Bank would lead to a "popular uprising" against Israel by the Palestinian population.

According to the host of 'Topic of the Day,' broadcast on official PA TV on July 28, 2020, as translated by PMW, “The statement issued after the [PLO - Fatah] meeting, spoke about ‘developing and implementing coordination on the ground between all the political forces, popular committees, institutions, and activists of the resistance, and working to establish a united national front for popular resistance resulting in a comprehensive intifada.’"

Yusuf agreed that this was so, explaining: "We cannot agree to [Israel] establishing facts on the ground. We will not accept harming the Palestinian people’s rights.”

The host then clarified: “A comprehensive intifada as part of the non-violent popular uprising?” adding “Peaceful. A non-violent intifada?”

Yusuf replied: “No. Of course [it will be] a comprehensive intifada, a national rebellion, and everything connected to ending this criminal occupation, which is implementing all its crimes and aggression against the Palestinian people. This is something necessary, and actually this is all being developed."

Yusuf went on to justify a third intifada on the grounds that the first intifada in 1987-1993, which claimed the lives of approximately 200 Israelis, and the second in 2000-2005 in which more than 1,100 Israelis were killed, had both been successful in bringing the Palestinian cause to the international stage.

Those uprisings "achieved a lot for the Palestinian cause, and everyone thought that the Palestinian cause was diminishing, but it always was in the international community’s priorities. Therefore, the Palestinian cause is the basis in this matter,” Yusuf said.

Highlighting international calls for dialogue and negotiation as the path to resolving the conflict, the host of the program asked Yusuf whether the international community would accept a new Palestinian intifada within the next two years.

"Of course," Yusuf replied. "When we talk about intifada we are talking about the way to escalate the situation."

Yusuf's comments follow previous statements by Palestinian leaders in which they indicated that they were not calling outright for an intifada, but would not prevent a popular uprising by the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authorities regularly broadcast music and videos inciting violence against Israel to the Palestinian population.

“We’re not calling for a third intifada,” a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post in mid-June. “We are just warning that Israel’s actions and measures could lead to a new intifada and destabilize security in the region.”

The official said that the policy of the PA and the ruling Fatah faction was to encourage a “peaceful and popular resistance” in the West Bank, while discouraging “armed attacks that would play into the hands of the Israeli government and the Israeli right-wing parties.”

Although the PA has suspended security coordination with Israel, the official noted, “we remain opposed to armed attacks because they would cause huge damage to the Palestinian issue.”

However, the term "peaceful, popular uprising" has been used by PA leaders in the past to refer to violent attacks on Israeli citizens. In November 2015, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the Knife Intifada of 2015-16, which at that point had claimed 14 lives with a further 167 wounded, as a "peaceful popular uprising."

Explaining in a statement broadcast on official PA TV why he had not condemned the attacks despite telling the international community that he is against terror, Abbas said: "We said to everyone that we want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is. That’s what this is."

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.