A third West Bank intifada?
Signs of an incipient rebellion within Fateh against Abbas and the PA
The West Bank is in a state of ferment these days as anger and frustration grow over the brutal actions of the occupation and its settlers. It is clearly reflected in the increasing number of retaliatory attacks against settlers. This has been causing real concern to the Israeli occupation state. It prompted the Israeli army minister Gen. Benny Gantz to invite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to his home near Tel Aviv to discuss ‘jointly’ confronting this alarming phenomenon.
Two recent incidents in the West Bank indicate that an explosion of armed resistance may be imminent.
First, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), which is affiliated to the Fateh movement, staged an armed display brandishing automatic weapons in broad daylight in the al-Am’ari refugee camp. They issued a statement vowing to take revenge and “make the ground burn beneath the Zionists’ feet” if any harm falls Nasser Abu-Zaid, one of the group’s founders imprisoned by Israel who is suffering from cancer and connected to a ventilator after a long period of apparently deliberate medical neglect.
Secondly, the reaction that followed the arrest and savage beating by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces of Muhammad al-Zubaidi, son of the prisoner Zakaria al-Zubaidi who was one of the heroes of last year’s celebrated Gilboa prison jailbreak. An armed group held a demonstration outside PA headquarters in Ramallah where Zubaidi was being held, forcing the authorities to release him in a bid to contain the situation before it developed into an armed clash.
The resurfacing of the AMB, its open armed displays in refugee camps and cities, and its threats to avenge its imprisoned members, could be signs of an incipient rebellion within Fateh and its young rank-and file against the leadership and policies of Abbas and his entourage.
This could drastically alter the situation to their disadvantage in the West Bank and Gaza Stirp alike. Fateh still retains a broad base of support in both areas that can make “the ground burn beneath the Zionists’ feet” as threatened.
Younger members constitute the majority of Fateh’s rank-and-file and have begun angrily raising their voices against the humiliating position into which the movement has been led — as sub-contractor for the occupation tasked with helping to perpetuate it by protecting it and its settlers.
The PA security men who brutally beat up the young Mahmoud al-Zubaidi may have inadvertently hastened the ignition of a third, armed, intifada — not against the occupation, but against the PA and a Fateh leadership that has become ossified and detached and turned the movement into a repressive tool of the occupation.