Hamas warned that the Israeli plan was a “conspiracy woven by the Zionist occupation, the American administration and some Arab conspirators against the Palestinian people.”
One day after the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction held a rally in Jericho to protest Israel’s intention to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Hamas on Monday called on Palestinians to “activate all the tools of the resistance” to thwart the annexation plan.
Hamas’s appeal is seen by some Palestinians as a call for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel.
While Fatah and the PA have called for “peaceful resistance” against the planned annexation, Hamas and other extremist groups insist that the Palestinians must resort to all forms of “resistance,” including terrorist attacks.
Addressing the Palestinians, Hamas said: “Let’s rise. Let’s launch a popular revolution everywhere so that the enemy would know that there are men in Palestine and heroes in our nation who will protect the land, the people and the holy shrines and repel this enemy.”A “massive popular revolution and activating all the tools of the resistance are sufficient to end the Zionist aggression and stop the international conspiracy” against the Palestinians, Hamas said in a statement issued in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli plan is a “conspiracy woven by the Zionist occupation, the American administration and some Arab conspirators against the Palestinian people,” it said.
Hamas called for “active and powerful participation in all activities and events against the annexation decision,” adding that it was a “religious, moral and patriotic duty” to protest against the plan.
Meanwhile, PA and Fatah officials on Tuesday expressed deep satisfaction over Monday’s anti-annexation rally in Jericho, noting that many foreign diplomats, including UN and EU representatives, attended it.
The participation of foreign dignitaries in the Jericho rally, which was organized by Fatah, “carries many implications and messages for the Israeli side,” PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said. The “mass rally was tantamount to an international consensus against the annexation plan,” he said.
Saleh Ra’fat, a senior PLO official, said the Jericho rally “sent a clear message to the occupation government that our people would resist all Israeli schemes if any part of Palestine is annexed.” He praised the foreign diplomats who spoke at the rally and expressed their opposition to the annexation plan.
Many Palestinians reacted with mixed feelings to the Jericho rally. While some criticized the event for defying the PA government’s rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, others hailed it as a “diplomatic achievement” for the Palestinian leadership.
“We didn’t see social distancing during the rally,” Ramallah resident Motasem Eid said. “The Palestinian government violated its own instructions regarding the coronavirus. If you ban weddings and mourning gatherings, how can you hold a big rally with many people?”Other Palestinians noted that the Jericho rally was attended mostly by PA and Fatah officials and activists, while representatives of other Palestinian factions were not invited.
Referring to the PA government’s recent decision to impose a lockdown on Hebron and Nablus following an increase in coronavirus cases, Fares Zalloum, a lawyer from Hebron, said the Jericho rally shows that the measures taken against Hebron are meaningless. “Why are the people of Hebron being punished under the pretext of curbing the spread of the virus?” he asked.
The Jericho rally “sent a message to Israel and the US administration that the annexation plan won’t pass,” PA Deputy Prime Minister and Information Minister Nabil Abu Rudeineh said. He expressed confidence that “the Palestinian leadership would succeed in foiling and burying this new conspiracy just as it did with [US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan] the ‘Deal of the Century.’”