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Thursday, March 22, 2018, 

Hamas calls for new uprising, amid suspense over Abbas UN speech

Hamas calls for new uprising, amid suspense over Abbas UN speech

Tel Aviv, 29 September 2015 (MIA) - Ahead of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' UN General Assembly address, the rival Palestinian Hamas movement on Tuesday called for a new Palestinian uprising against Israeli measures at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque, dpa reports. 

Abbas' address in New York on Wednesday comes at a time of growing despair among Palestinians, collapsed peace talks and tensions in Jerusalem.

Israeli and Palestinian ears are tuned in to hear how the "tired" 80-year-old plans to get out of the deadlock, if at all.

Abbas had promised to drop a "bombshell" in his speech in New York, stirring speculation that he may announce his resignation, dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA), declare the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords null and void, all of these or even other radical measures.

But he is under pressure from Washington to tone down the address.

Abbas is frustrated with the lack of any peace process, which broke down in 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a fourth term in March, has for most of his time in office prioritized appeasing pro-settler coalition partners, who demand ongoing construction in the occupied West Bank, over the peace process.

An opinion poll published last week indicated that 66 per cent of Palestinians reject any return to negotiations without a settlement freeze.

Sixty-five per cent want Abbas to resign and 51 per cent support dissolving the PA, said the poll by the Ramallah-based PCPSR.

More and more Palestinians believe they can achieve statehood only through armed attacks - the strategy advocated by opposition groups - and not through negotiations - the strategy advocated by Abbas.

Amid the vacuum, East Jerusalem has witnessed a surge in the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails by Palestinian youths against Israeli civilians and police.

Youths throwing stones and firecrackers have also clashed with police at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site, which houses al-Aqsa Mosque and the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

A large majority of Palestinians believe that Israel plans to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque or rebuild the Jewish Biblical Temple next to it. Netanyahu vehemently denies this, accusing Muslim officials of heating tempers by spreading false rumours.

With much of the world's attention turned to other problems - the Iran nuclear deal, the Syrian civil war, refugees and radical Islamists - Abbas is desperate to get the Palestinian cause back on the international agenda.

A top aide, Hanna Amira, said Tuesday that Abbas' main message will be that the current situation is untenable, "particularly regarding developments at al-Aqsa Mosque and settlement expansion."

Another top Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) member, Ahmad Majdalani, confirmed the US administration pressure "to water down the content of the president's speech."

But he said the speech would nevertheless focus on future Palestinian strategy, adding Secretary of State John Kerry, in a meeting with Abbas Saturday, had thus far not offered "enough to stop the measures or steps the president intends to announce."

In a statement marking 15 years since the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising), which raged for at least five years, Hamas warned: "The ingredients and the factors for the breakout of a new Intifada against the Israeli occupation exist, its tools are ready and no one can stop its explosion."

The battle over control of the mount that houses al-Aqsa Mosque would not be won "without a large popular new Intifada," said the Islamist group.

The second Intifada broke out on September 29, 2000, amid a deadlock in the peace process. The trigger was a visit by then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the sensitive holy site.


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