TEL AVIV – The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the former so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party, is considering a renewal of its so-called armed struggle – meaning terrorism against Israel – in the wake of a law passed last night by the Knesset that protects Israeli homes in the West Bank, a former Brigades commander told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Abu Mujahed, currently a Palestinian Authority intelligence operative, said that “in the aftermath of the law that permits a Palestinian land grab, we are closer than ever to the resumption of hostilities.” Mujahed spoke under the condition that only his nom de guerre be used.
He said the former militants are split over whether to revive the now-defunct paramilitary organization or wage the armed struggle in a way that, unlike the last decade’s Second Intifada, would not embarrass the Palestinian Authority.
“Whether we claim responsibility as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades or not, the die is cast. Israelis have to understand that the lull that started in 2005 is over,” he said.
“We understand that we will not receive any backing from the PA, as we did in the time of the late President [Yasser] Arafat, but the Palestinian people never turned its back on those who engage in resistance against the occupation,” he said.
He rejected claims that Iran-backed Hezbollah has agreed to sponsor the Fatah militants: “It’s a futile attempt to associate us with Hezbollah, Iran and the Revolutionary Guards. Yes, they were very much involved in the last chapters of the last intifada, and it’s true that several individual associations with Hezbollah have been established, but Hezbollah is not part of our strategic planning if the armed struggle ever materializes again.”
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is a terrorist organization responsible for scores of suicide bombings and shootings targeting Israeli civilians and soldiers. Mujahed was one of the beneficiaries of an amnesty Israel granted to Fatah militants in 2007.
This is not the first time Mujahed claimed the former Brigades members may return to violence. Last month, he warned Fatah militants may engage in “violence” if the United States follows up on its pledge to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in terrorist attacks carried out in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including shootings and attempted car-rammings. Those attacks have not been attributed to former Brigades members.
The latest attacks represent what seems to be the continued stepping up of terrorism following the passage in late December of the anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution calling the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem “occupied Palestinian territories.”
Israeli defense officials here have also noted a sharp and alarming increase in Palestinian rock-throwing attacks since the UN resolution.
Some of the holiest sites in Judaism are located in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, including the Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City; the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, which was home to the oldest continuous Jewish community in the world until the Jews of Hebron were massacred and expelled; the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus – biblical Shechem.