The office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said a major escalation in West Bank violence Thursday was the fault of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which was unveiled last week.
Attackers in Jerusalem and West Bank targeted Israeli forces in three incidents on Thursday, and significant clashes took place in Jenin during the demolition of a terrorist’s home. Violence around Gaza also continued to spiral.
The so-called “deal of the century” has “created this atmosphere of escalation and tension by trying to impose fake facts on the ground, which we have repeatedly warned against,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’s spokesperson, in a statement posted on the PA official site Wafa.
“Any deal that does not meet the rights of our people and does not aim to make a just and comprehensive peace will inevitably lead to this escalation that we are witnessing today,” the statement said. “The Palestinian people and their leadership will stand strong against all these conspiracies and they will foil them just as they did in all previous conspiracies, regardless of the sacrifices.”
“The Palestinian leadership will deal with every scheme like we blocked the earlier schemes,” it said.
Abbas is due at the UN next week to express opposition to the plan and demand Israel not push ahead with plans to annex areas of the West Bank under the contours of the US proposal.
The Hamas terror group praised the rash of attacks on Israelis, saying in a statement that “the revolution raging in the West Bank cities and in Jerusalem is the implementation of the Palestinian people’s decision to expel the occupation from the West Bank and free it of settlers.”
Hamas did not claim responsibility for the attacks.
A predawn car-ramming injured 12 soldiers in Jerusalem in a suspected terror attack, a shooting attack lightly injured a Border Police officer outside Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and a soldier was lightly injured in a drive-by shooting along a West Bank highway.
In the clashes in Jenin, a Palestinian police officer and a Palestinian police cadet were killed in separate incidents under unclear circumstances.
On Wednesday, a Palestinian teenager was also shot dead by Israeli troops as he threw a Molotov cocktail at them in Hebron, the military said.
In the south, the past week has seen a stream of rocket and mortar attacks and dozens of balloon-borne explosive devices launched from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, generally landing in or near communities closer to the Hamas-ruled enclave, including on Wednesday night and Thursday. Israeli aircraft responded by attacking Hamas infrastructure in southern Gaza shortly after midnight on Thursday.
Tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem have been heightened since the January 28 release of Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinian Authority immediately rejected the proposal, which was widely seen as overwhelmingly favorable toward Israel.
In the week and a half since the plan’s release, the military has noted a significant increase in violence in the West Bank, with regular riots, rock-throwing and intense clashes during Israeli arrest raids.