Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas last Saturday condemned the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the wake of a deadly attack in the West Bank city of Nablus.
In a statement, Abbas pointed to the continuation of Israel’s killing, destruction and arrest, referring to the killing Saturday of a child by Israeli soldiers in Nablus City.
He called for an immediate cessation of the Israeli aggressive policies, appealing to the international community, particularly the Quartet (EU, US, Russia and the UN) to stop this offensive and present urgent aid to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.
One Palestinian youth was martyred and twenty others were injured in confrontations with Israeli occupation forces besieging a residential building in Nablus on Saturday.
Doctors at the Rafidiya government hospital confirmed the martyrdom of Muntasir Sulayman Muhammad Awkah, 15, a resident of the Askar refugee camp, by the occupation’s bullet in the back.
Citizens in the region said that Israeli troops were holding a number of families in the Labbadah three-storey building in difficult conditions, interrogating them to obtain information on the whereabouts of potentially wanted people in the building.
Eyewitnesses reported that bulldozers destroyed a number of walls and rooms in the building. They also destroyed six cars belonging to citizens of Nablus.
Later, the Jihad al-Ammarin Battalion of the Martyr Izz-al-Din al-Shamali Groups of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb near an Israeli military Hummer jeep on Al-Quds Street in Nablus and clashing with a group of soldiers that rushed to the scene in an attempt to assist their wounded comrades.
In a statement, the brigades said that ‘six Israeli soldiers were either killed or injured in the blast near a military Hummer’.
The group added that this is the fourth operation of the Fajr al-Islam (Dawn of Islam) campaign in response to the shelling of leaders’ houses, the most recent of which was the attack on Salim Thabit’s house in the northern Gaza Strip, and the assassination of Hasan Asfur and Rami Hanun.
Elsewhere, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, and the Abu-Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), claimed responsibility for shooting one Israeli soldier at the military post of Kissufim.
The soldier was shot while he stood in a watchtower, south of the Israeli Kissufim military post, east of the Palestinian town of Al Qararah.
In a joint statement, the two military wings said that the operation was in response to the ongoing Israeli aggressions, crimes and massacres against the Palestinian people, and to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the assassination of the leader of the PFLP, Abu-Ali Mustafa.
The two military wings confirmed that they hit the soldier and that the Israeli forces fired back intensively.
Israeli Apache helicopters arrived at the scene to give support to the Israeli ground forces.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, claimed responsibility for the launch of one home-made projectile into Al Majdal (known by Israelis as Ashkelon) early on Saturday morning.
In a statement, the brigades said that the launch was in response to the ongoing Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
They confirmed that they will continue their resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
Meanwhile, the Tulkarem branch of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, associated with Fatah, last Saturday announced the formation of a new group of activists tasked with observing and pursuing collaborators with the Israeli occupation.
The Brigades leader Muhammad Shihadah, alias Abu-Firas, said that the new group was made up of about ten members from Tulkarem, carrying firearms and mobile phones, and other members working undercover.
The undercover unit is tasked with collecting information to help the group expose collaborators.
A few heavily armed group members have been seen patrolling the streets of Tulkarem refugee camp, vowing to severely punish agents and collaborators with the occupation.
Sami Abu-Zuhri, the Hamas Movement spokesman, on Saturday asserted that his Movement would naturally lead any national unity government, being the majority in the current PLC (Palestinian Legislative Council), and would not allow any corrupt element in the new cabinet line-up.
Abu-Zuhri affirmed that consultations would cover all parliamentary blocs and political forces, explaining that the national unity government would serve as an impetus for boosting national unity in face of foreign challenges and in breaking the siege laid to the Palestinian people.
The distribution of cabinet portfolios would be open for negotiations and dialogue but on the basis that Hamas is the leader due to its parliamentary majority, he elaborated.
The spokesman underlined that Hamas had no veto on any certain figure, but pointed out that Hamas would only accept those known for their ‘competence and integrity’.
He did not pinpoint a fixed date for declaring the new government, adding that it was left to negotiations.
Abu-Zuhri said that Hamas would thus be the first movement worldwide winning a majority but allowing other forces to take part in the government.
Also on Saturday, Fatah leaders gave President Abbas the go-ahead to form a national unity government with Hamas.
At the end of a meeting of the Fatah central committee in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Nabil Sha’th, a close Abbas aide, said the formation of the new government would not be subject to any conditions or demands on Israel.
Sha’th and other members had been critical of Hamas’s condition that Israel first release Palestinian political detainees.
Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister and senior member of Hamas, denied that either his Islamist party or Fatah were beholden to conditions.
Haniya said: ‘We are still at the beginning of holding negotiations. Neither Hamas nor Fatah has conditions. All sides support the idea of forming a national unity government.’
Fatah’s central committee member Abbas Zaki welcomed Haniya’s announcement.
Zaki said: ‘We, and all Palestinian forces, want the so-called Hamas-Fatah conflict to end in a unified Palestinian stance.
‘We want to convince the world that we deserve to live and establish our state, while Israel, which continues launching attacks, would not find any Palestinian contradiction to take advantage of.’