Israel extends goodwill gestures to PA’s Abbas

Hamas official declares ‘no end to armed struggle’

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Posted on: 
24 Jan 2012
Israel extends goodwill gestures to PA’s Abbas

As a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, Israel is reportedly letting the construction of two PA police stations near Jerusalem pass, despite the fact that it violates previous agreements. One police station is in the village of a-Ram, which lies northeast of the Jerusalem neighborhood Neveh Ya’acov, just outside the capital’s municipal borders. The second station was established in what is known as the Biddu enclave – a group of eight Palestinian villages located near Ramallah and along Road 443. Both are in Area B, which according to the Oslo Accords was designated as being under Israeli security control and Palestinian civilian control. The Israeli gesture is meant to bolster Abbas and the PA against possible moves by the Islamist terror militia Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and threatens the PA’s sovereignty in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank.

“There is something of a blind eye being turned to the establishment of the stations,” a senior official familiar with the issue told the Post. “Israel does not want to have to send its own forces inside, and the Palestinians are looking to extend their reach and authority. In the meantime, everyone benefits.”

Other goodwill gestures include a series of joint environmental projects between the Civil Administration and the PA, including a cardboard and plastic recycling plan, waste cleanup in key locations, authorizing civilians and soldiers in charge of environmental activities, recycling industrial waste from factories and raising awareness. Israel has spent hundreds of thousands of shekels on the projects.

"Environmental awareness is slowly growing among the Judea and Samaria population," said Civil Administration environmental officer, Mr. Benny Elbaz. "This is of great importance and we all understand that the hazard goes beyond borders - our cooperation with the PA on the matter is extremely successful."

Despite the various gestures by Israel, the PA recently reiterated its absolute refusal to negotiate with Israel without a renewal of the freeze on building in settlements, and a senior Hamas official declared categorically that the Islamist terror militia will never give up violence against Israel.

"I confirm that exploratory meetings will come to an end on the date agreed upon [January 26] if Israel does not stop its settlement building in the whole of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem," a PA official told AFP  on Monday. "No date has been set until now for a new meeting."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, told Moscow that his "visits in Great Britain, Germany and Russia aimed to discuss what could be done if exploratory meetings in Amman failed," WAFA news agency reported.

Elsewhere, the IDF arrested a fourth Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament Tuesday morning, prompting Hamas to issue a statement denouncing what it called the "arrogant Zionist policy against Hamas figures."

Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar issued a statement on Monday declaring that his organization will never give up its armed struggled against Israel and denouncing a recent statement by Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mishaal prioritizing "peaceful resistance."

"We are fighting for our dignity and rights. Jihad is our path, our life, our pride and we will not renounce it no matter the sacrifices," said Zahar, quoted on the website of the Izzeddine Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing.


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