TEL AVIV — Hamas has held meetings over the past few days with the leaders of the main Palestinian factions in an attempt to escalate clashes with Israeli troops that have been ongoing in the West Bank, a senior official in one of the Palestinian jihadist organizations active in the Gaza Strip told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the official, the terrorist organizations participating in the meetings were those with active members in the West Bank like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad. The goal of the meetings was to turn the current wave of violence into a full-blown intifada led by the Palestinian factions.
The source noted that the main motive of these meetings was to push for extensive confrontations in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem while maintaining the principle that the Gaza Strip should remain distant from the escalation.
“Hamas representatives requested that the Palestinian factions organize, help, and lead the clashes and current wave into a continuous wave while maintaining coordination between the factions,” said the source. “Those in Hamas believe that circles in Fatah would join the circle of conflict with Israel if it is intensive and shown to be motivated by the al-Aqsa Mosque. The goal is for clashes to continue on a daily basis and to keep the flame of conflict lit.”
The other issue that was emphasized, according to the source, was to make sure that Israel is not dragged into military action in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas believes that it is possible to renew a wave of attacks similar to that which broke out in October 2015 and was characterized by stabbing and car-ramming attacks and to maintain it longer with financial and logistic help and proper communication,” said the source.
The source also noted that Hamas sees an opportunity in the current deterioration of the security situation in the West Bank to relieve its internal crisis.
“That’s the reason that in these meetings Hamas said they were prepared to coordinate with factions that suffered less damage than Hamas in the wave of arrests that Israel and the Palestinian Authority carried out in the West Bank over recent months,” he said. “It was clear that Hamas wants to use a possible escalation in the West Bank as a bargaining chip in its contacts with Israel in an attempt to accelerate the contacts in regards to the reconstruction project of the Gaza Strip.”
For over a week now, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have engaged in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank purportedly set off by Israel’s decision to put metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount.
Tensions spilled over to central Israel on Monday with the stabbing of an Israeli in Petach Tikvah, a suburb of Tel Aviv. The terrorist reportedly told Israeli police that that he “did it for Al-Aqsa.”
All has not been quiet on the Gaza front. On Monday, a projectile was launched at Israel from Gaza and the Israel Defense Forces retaliated by striking a Hamas position.