TEL AVIV (Oct. 16)
Palestinians in the administered territories are being exhorted to escalate the intifada with firearms and knives.
The call for deadly weapons, an apparent outgrowth of last week’s violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, was contained in the latest leaflets circulated by both Hamas and A1 Fatah, rivals for leadership of the Palestinian masses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist group that originated in the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian uprising began there in December 1987. Fatah is the military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization controlled by Yasir Arafat.
The Hamas leaflet is the more virulent. It says it is “compulsory” to “murder and kill any soldier or Jew and to damage their property.” It urges Palestinians to burn crops in Israel on Oct. 21 and 22.
The Fatah leaflet says that because demonstrations, stones and firebombs have failed to achieve the intifada’s goals, it is necessary to resort to guns and knives.
PLO headquarters in Tunis has also called for an intensification of the uprising, but has not authorized the use of firearms, the Israeli news media have pointed out.
Until now, the intifada leadership has made much of the fact that the uprising has pitted only rocks against bullets.
The order to change to deadlier weapons is believed to be a result of the fatal shooting of 21 Palestinians by Israeli border police during the Oct. 8 riots on the Temple Mount.
There is reportedly no shortage of weapons in the administered territories. Palestinians have access to guns stolen from the army or sold to them by criminal elements in Israel.
The Jewish National Fund, Israel’s land reclamation agency, has already reported a sudden upsurge of forest fires bearing evidence of arson. According to the JNF, they could be revenge for the Temple Mount killings.