| 13 July 2024, Saturday |

West Bank: New front challenges Israel, Palestinian authority

The West Bank has witnessed escalating tensions that could potentially open a third front against Israel, along with Gaza and the Lebanese border, since Israel launched its war on the coastal enclave two weeks ago,

Hamas has been actively pushing the West Bank toward a larger confrontation with Israel, even before it launched Al-Aqsa Storm operation on Oct.7.

The Islamic Jihad has also explicitly urged Palestinians in the West Bank to bear arms and engage in the confrontation with Israel.

While much of the attention has been focused on the borders with Gaza and Lebanon, tensions have significantly escalated in the West Bank.

Palestinians there have carried out armed attacks on Israeli military positions, engaged in angry protests, and clashed violently with the army.

It appears that the army has decided to change its approach and crack down on the Palestinians in the area, much like what it is doing in Gaza.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesperson for Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of waging a comprehensive war against Palestinians wherever they are located.

He stated that Israel is a lawless state committing crimes in both the West Bank and Gaza.

The West Bank witnessed widespread unrest on Tuesday night as Palestinian anger flared in the aftermath of the massacre at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza.

Thousands of people took to the streets across the West Bank, with some clashing with Palestinian security forces, protesting what they saw as “Abbas’s insufficient support for Hamas.”

While Abbas has not directly attacked Hamas, he has been keen on not supporting it, emphasizing multiple times that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the sole representative of the people and focusing more on efforts to halt the war against civilians.

The relationship between Abbas and Hamas has been strained since the movement’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, with the wars in Gaza only exacerbating these tensions.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat