Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas indicated the Palestinian Authority may turn to terrorism, saying “armed resistance” against Israel could commence any day.
“I do not endorse armed resistance at the moment, but I may change my mind later,” President Mahmoud Abbas said in a recent Arabic-language interview translated into English on the Elder of Ziyon website, a blog that tracks Israeli-Palestinian issues. “I do not adopt military resistance at this time, but it is possible that I change my mind tomorrow or after tomorrow, or any time.”
Abbas’s comments come at a troubling time for his Palestinian Authority governing body, which is the weakest it has been in decades. The Iran-backed Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, has been challenging Abbas’s power, and several armed faction groups have also joined the fray in recent months. The challenge to Abbas’s rule threatens to topple a fragile security framework with Israel that has been vital to stopping terror attacks on the Jewish state. Abbas’s most recent remarks are likely to inflame an already dangerous situation, according to Middle East observers.
“The assessment right now is that we have not seen this much unrest in the West Bank in pretty much 15 years,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the Treasury Department who now works on Middle East issues at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Abbas “would be unwise to unleash additional chaos in the West Bank,” Schanzer said. “If things escalate too far, it is highly likely he will be among the most prominent casualties.”