A senior Palestinian security officer warned Saturday that Palestinian Islamic groups are likely to attempt to step up attacks against Israel, since its withdrawal from Lebanon is being interpreted as proof of the effectiveness of Hizbullah tactics, reported the Jerusalem Post.
"Hamas and Islamic Jihad want to show that they are the Palestinian Hizbullahs who will liberate Palestine," the officer told The Jerusalem Post.
Izzadin Kassam, Hamas's military wing, circulated a leaflet in Nablus on Friday, vowing to intensify attacks against Israelis, and "set the ground on fire under the feet of the occupier."
The senior security officer was quoted as saying that Hamas and Jihad might join forces to form a "Palestinian Hizbullah."
"There are a lot of declarations about the Palestinians these days from all sides. They want us to fight while they watch," the security officer was quoted as saying.
The fact that US peace efforts will intensify this week, with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arriving in the region, will inspire Islamic militants to carry out attacks to block any progress in the peace process, he said.
Some 2,000 Islamic Jihad activists attended a rally in Gaza on Friday, vowing to continue attacking Israel.
Waving green-and-yellow Hizbullah flags, the crowd burned Israeli and American flags and shouted their support as the movement's general secretary, Ramadan Shallah, spoke to the crowd from Damascus and called on them to continue armed struggle, added the Jerusalem Post.
"You, the Palestinians, sons of the Islamic Jihad, should take the initiative. Your place is a celebration of martyrdom in the heart of Tel Aviv, your place is in Beit Lid," Shallah told the crowd.
"The humiliating defeat of the Zionist enemy by Hizbullah heroes proved that jihad and resistance are the sole option for regaining Palestine," he said.
Meanwhile, Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was quoted as saying the Fatah-organized riots last month to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners - in which several Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured - succeeded in putting the prisoners on top of Israel's and the PA's agendas.
He added many Palestinians feel that this proves Hizbullah's way is the best way to deal with Israel - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)