The beginning of a beautiful friendship? A top fugitive appointed to a top Palestinian security post says he intends to closely cooperate with gunmen and 'resistance groups,' according to Palestinian news agency Ramtan.
"The (Interior) Ministry will be investing great efforts in guiding the resistance," Popular Resistance Committees Commander Jamal Abu Samhadana said in a talk with Ramtan. "The Ministry will be cooperating with resistance organizations in order to prepare for defending the entire Palestinian people and mitigate its suffering."
Earlier Thursday, Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam announced Samhadana's appointment as the Ministry's director-general, in charge of oversees Palestinian security forces.
Samhadana said the Interior Minister will be undertaking efforts to end the security anarchy in the PA.
"The fighters will fight on behalf of the people and not against them," he said. "We'll do everything so that society abides by the law and everyone will be equal before the law. Palestinian resistance groups are the most attentive to the public interest."
"Our participation in the government stems from a belief this is a combative government that comes to safeguard the resistance and support it, rather than fight it," he said.
Sanhadana added the Palestinian government did not ask him or his group to curb rocket attacks at Israeli targets.
"The government made it clear to us that the decision regarding the firing or an end to the fire belongs to the resistance organizations," he said. "They are the ones that decide when to escalate and when to stop. The military actions are related to the resistance and its circumstances and have no connection to the government."
U.S. slams appointment
The United States blasted Thursday evening the appointment of Popular Resistance Committees Commander Jamal Abu Samhadana to the post of director-general of the Interior and National Security Ministry.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack denounced the move, saying it showed "The true nature and the true tactics of this particular Hamas-led government."
McCormack added the U.S. would still hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for stopping terror attacks. According to the spokesman, some Palestinian leaders are fanning the flames of nationalism among their people but are in fact preventing progress towards the establishment of a Palestinian state and a better future for the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, political sources in Jerusalem also condemned the appointment, noting it constitutes "an ongoing trend by the Hamas government to appoint terror figures to key posts in their government."
"This isn't a surprise," one source said.
Security officials told Ynet Samhadana's appointment could also be viewed in the framework of internal power struggles within the Palestinian Authority.
"Those are internal displays of power. The appointment of an arch-terrorist by the Hamas government to a central post…defines a clear direction by the current Palestinian Authority," one source said.
Defense officials also said they are not surprised by the new appointment.
"With the rise of the Hamas government, every appointment of a person whose name is tied to terrorism doesn't constitute a surprise," a security source told Ynet. The official refused to elaborate about Israel's attitude to Abu Samhadana, but noted that "anyone who carries out terror or plans or funds it may be hurt, regardless of the position he fills."
Ronny Sofer and AP contributed to the story