Tuesday, two armed Palestinians on a motorbike were killed in Beit Lahiya in unclear circumstances. At first, those of Gaza had denounced this as an Israeli drone attack. Then, the Islamic Jihad issued a statement to clarify that two of its men had died on a ”mission.” Apparently, the two were killed by the accidental explosion of the bomb they were carrying.
Unlike the newspapers, the Israeli political and military authorities are not underestimating the developments of the Palestinian protests in the slightest. This is confirmed by their decision to place Marwan Barghouti, the secretary of the Fatah party in the West Bank who has been in prison in Israel for 15 years, in solitary confinement. Barghouti, 58, is known as the commander of the Second Intifada (2000-2005), and his charisma has remained intact despite the long prison sentence. The Palestinians are saying that Israel is afraid that Barghouti may send out new calls to revolt.
“My father was put in solitary confinement for the message he sent to the Palestinians on the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the first Intifada [Dec. 8],” his son, Qasam Barghouti, told us Tuesday. “In that message, he called on the people to reject Trump’s declaration and start a peaceful Intifada of the people, like that which began in 1987.”
In his message, Marwan Barghouti urged the Palestinians to return to full national unity. However, the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas still remains a long way off. Dec. 10 marked the missing of another crucial deadline set by both parties to complete the transfer of control over Gaza from Hamas to the National Authority government of Mahmoud Abbas, in which Fatah plays the crucial role. This transfer of power has not occurred because to the non-payment of public sector wages in Gaza, something undertaken in recent years by the Hamas executive. The PNA government has not paid the salaries into the current accounts of the employees in response to the decision by the Islamic movement not to transfer the taxes collected in Gaza to the coffers of the PNA. The Islamists defended their decision, claiming that they didn’t have reassurance from Ramallah that the funds would be used for paying the public employees in Gaza.