Five terrorist organizations, including the organization to which Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud (Abu Mazen) Abbas belong - Fatah - declared last night that they reject the Aqaba summit and PA leader Abu Mazen's speech there. They will, however, continue to collaborate among themselves, according to the joint communique. The statement is signed by representatives of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
The Palestinian Authority has, predictably, blamed Israel for the terrorists' refusal to consider a temporary end to terrorism, saying that Israel is "ignoring its obligations to the Road Map."
Specifically, the battle on Thursday night near Tul Karem in which IDF forces killed two terrorists and captured another was cited as the reason why Hamas broke off its talks with the PA. Israel has long said that if the PA does not dismantle terror infrastructures, it would have to do it itself. PA officials have in fact said they would not use force in trying to contain terrorism.
The battle on Thursday night began when an elite undercover Border Guard unit, guided by IDF intelligence information, arrived at the house in which the three wanted terrorists were hiding. Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reports that after the terrorists ignored the troops' calls for a peaceful surrender, the Israelis entered, and a gun battle ensued. Two terrorists were killed, a third was wounded and captured, and three Kalachnikov rifles were confiscated.
Citing this battle as the reason for the break-up of the Hamas-PA talks was largely seen as an excuse, however, as Hamas rejected the Aqaba summit as soon as it ended. Its statement on Friday confirmed this position, saying that the PA's Abu Mazen had "ignored the right of Palestinian refugees to return" as well as "the suffering of the Palestinian people inflicted by the crimes of the Zionist occupation." Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin similarly said that the Aqaba summit had "ignored the right of refugees to return, forgot the prisoners, ignored Jerusalem and ignored the rest of our faithful causes."
"We have stopped the dialogue with the Palestinian Authority," Yassin told Reuters. "This is our choice and we have no alternative. [Armed] resistance will continue." Thousands of Hamas supporters staged rallies across the Gaza Strip on Friday, vowing to continue attacks against Israelis.
Abu Mazen told reporters in Ramallah today, "Perhaps my remarks [regarding the end of the armed struggle] were not understood correctly. We would like to achieve quiet via dialogue [between ourselves and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.] and not with a civil war."
Middle East expert Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ochana told Arutz-7 today that what Abu Mazen is trying to accomplish is nothing more than "hudna" - a ceasefire during which the terrorists strengthen themselves sufficiently until they are ready to resume fighting. "Look, no one can know if this process will really work," he said, "but I can tell you that it is not addressing the root issues. For instance, the PLO has to be uprooted. As long as Arafat remains in the area, nothing can change - for he is the source of hostility and unrest."
Itim News Agency reports that although Abu Mazen promised just a few days ago to reduce the level of anti-Israel incitement in the PA, Voice of Palestine Radio has resumed the broadcast of songs of incitement. Lines such as "we must continue to fight for the liberation of the Palestinian land from the Israeli conquerors" have been heard repeatedly over the past few days. It appears that the songs were broadcast at the express order of Yasser Arafat.