Palestinians mull ‘popular uprising’ against Israel as Tel Aviv plans ‘Hit to the Heart’ drill

AL ARABIYA Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he plans to ask for clarifications of Israel’s positions on a variety of issues. (File photo)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he plans to ask for clarifications of Israel’s positions on a variety of issues. (File photo)

The Palestinian Authority is weighing whether to continue its security and economic cooperation with Israel or instead spark a “popular uprising” against the Israeli occupation, a PLO Executive Committee member said on Tuesday.

In a report published by the Haaretz, Hana Amira was quoted as saying that the Palestinian Authority will also explore the possibility of again approaching the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly to obtain some form of official recognition as a state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Egyptian TV on Friday that he planned to make “a dramatic announcement” within 10 days, given that the diplomatic talks with Israel had failed.

Abbas has said that he plans to contact Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ask for clarifications of Israel’s positions on a variety of issues. If the answers were not satisfactory, they plan to return to the U.N. bodies.

Abbas is expected to arrive in Turkey late Tuesday to discuss the Middle East peace process with senior officials, Anatolia news agency reported.

Abbas’ three-day visit comes after he and rival Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Thursday postponed talks on forming a unified government, in a further delay to ending an almost five-year rift.

On Thursday, Abbas’ secular Fatah party and Islamist Hamas postponed talks on reconciliation, adding another pause to a long-delayed peace process.

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Egypt in May, calling for an interim government and general elections to be held within a year to end their division after Hamas violently routed Fatah from Gaza in 2007.

Meanwhile, another report carried out by Israel’s Ynet on Monday quoted Israeli security officials as saying that they were taking the threat of long-range rockets being fired at central Israel from the Gaza Strip seriously, and have decided to hold a drill to prepare for such scenario.

The “Hit to the Heart” drill, scheduled next month, will simulate rocket attacks on central Israel that are not undertaken in the framework of an all-out regional war, the online report said.

According to the planned scenario, two rockets will be landing in the center of Tel Aviv. As the war game is aimed for senior commanders, the public will not be asked to take part in the exercise.

Hamas, the armed group which rules Gaza, is believed to possess rockets that are capable of reaching central Israel.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired more than 40 rockets at southern Israel, according to Israeli army figures.

Hamas has maintained a tacit truce with Israel, but other armed groups regularly fire rockets across the border, usually sparking retaliatory air strikes.

(Written by Abeer Teyel)


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