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PA, Hamas officials both warn Israel of escalation

Israel soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron on 16 November 2012 [ Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Israel soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron on 16 November 2012 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have warned that “a violent escalation” could be on the cards if Israel does not “ease its increasing pressure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip”, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

According to the paper, the officials claimed that “only the Israeli government and the international community could improve the situation, and the latter was not showing enough interest.”

Nablus region Governor Akram Rajoub told Haaretz that “Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax funds or any funds that belonged to the PA, alongside aggression by settlers or the army, were only making matters worse.”

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Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, warned that in light of the increasing pressure, “no one can tell when things will boil over, but all the elements for such a scenario are in place”, adding that “ongoing arrests in Jerusalem were also heightening the tensions”.

Meanwhile, “a Hamas official who recently met with senior officials in the PA said Hamas did not seek a violent confrontation”.

“The organisation doesn’t want to be dragged into a confrontation with Netanyahu and take blows for his political gains,” he said, “but the pressure is rising, and if Israel attacks in any way, all the factions will retaliate and things will spiral out of control.”

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