Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Qassam in the Negev
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Photo: AP
Palestinian gunman in Qabatiya
Photo: AP

Confusion in PA: Who launched Qassam?

Fatah takes responsibility for rocket firing, but senior officials in organization claim they know nothing about it. Palestinian security official estimates PRC activists are involved, but they fail to confirm nor deny this. Everyone explains reason for firing is Israeli military activity in West Bank

There has been general confusion in the Palestinian Authority after a Qassam rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev. One of the cells of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military arm, has taken responsibility for the firing.


However, Abu Ahmad, one of the group's senior officials in the northern Gaza Strip, said to Ynet that he had no knowledge that his people carried out the shooting.


"As of now, we continue to be committed to the truce, but are reserving our right to respond to Israeli infractions," said Abu Ahmad.


"Monday, an infraction was made in Jenin (the assassination in Qabatiya), but those still weren't our people who carried out the shooting. If the Israeli infractions continue, we will take action according to the agreement between the organizations, which states that we reserve the right to respond to Israeli crimes," explained Abu Ahmad.


A senior commander in the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades told Ynet, "Israel is doing everything to bring about the collapse of the truce." The officer said that "from the truce until now, Israeli manless drones haven't left the skies of the (Gaza) Strip."


According to him, "This is a blatant violation of the truce and an Israeli provocation. Same goes for the continuation of the humiliations at the border crossings, the blockade, and the hunting down people in the West Bank. If Israel doesn't change its policy, from our perspective the truce is likely to collapse at any moment."


A Palestinian security official said to Ynet that the Palestinian security forces estimate that the firing was carried out by members of the Salah a-Din Brigades, the military arm of the Popular Resistance Committees, in response to the assassination of one of its members in Qabatiya, next to Jenin.


The official continued, saying that his people are doing their best in order to prevent recurrent firings, but emphasized that the easiest way to ensure this is for Israel to halt operations that are likely to cause the Palestinian organizations to renew the firing.


Spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees Abu Abir said to Ynet that he cannot confirm or deny whether his organization is behind the Qassam firing: "We don't usually hide what we are doing, but it is our right to respond to any Israeli infraction. What happened today in Jenin was a breach of the truce."


Another spokesman of the organization, Abu Mujahad, said that his organization consulted Monday with the rest of the Palestinian organizations in regards to their method of response to the Israeli infraction. Mujahad mentioned that if the truce doesn't include the West Bank and if IDF operations in the West Bank aren't halted, the understandings are likely to bottom out at any moment.


Similar statements were made by Abu Obeideh, spokesman of Hamas' military arm.


Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Mahmoud Saadi warned Monday morning that his organization is likely to carry out a suicide attack in response to Israeli's crimes and that the organization won't agree that the truce doesn't include the West Bank.


"We won't agree to divide the homeland into two separate geographic regions. If the truce doesn't include the West Bank, and if IDF operations continue in the region, we will respond with suicide attacks. We expect that responsibility for the attacks, which are a result of the continuing Israeli crimes and the Israeli breaches of the truce, won't be placed on us," Saadi said.


Olmert, this is the time for action

The Palestinian Authority responded to Prime Minsiter Ehud Olmert's statements calling for the Palestinians to renew negotiations with Israel, and even promised that Israel is prepared to give the Palestinians as state, to release prisoners, and to vacate "many territories."


Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina sadi that now is the time for action, and not talk. According to him, "We are interested in negotiations on the basis of international agreements and resolutions, application of the Road Map and the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative."


Abu Rudeina added that establishing a Palestinian state that includes Jerusalem is the only possibility for peace and stability in the region.


A spokesman of the Palestinian president said that the Palestinian leadership is interested in negotiation, and not just dialogue.


"What is needed is to sit at the negotiating table in a serious manner and to start talking about applying the agreements. All this requires international guarantees." Abu Rudeina said that in order to apply the agreements, an international force is needed to act as a buffer between the Israelis and the Palestinians.


פרסום ראשון: 11.27.06, 20:45
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