On a few occasions, as reported by the Palestinian media, high-ranking figures have called for violence and support of Iraq:

The Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Ambassador to Iraq, Azzam Al-Ahmad, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Times, “We believe the American aggression is unjustified and is strongly condemned by the Palestinian people…Our position is a principled one, it should not be based on interests…We should reject the fragmentation of Arab positions…I believe this aggression will undermine the rapprochement between the PNA and US. We cannot stand idle…I believe the Palestinians will start burning the Palestinian flags they raised yesterday.”[1]

In an interview broadcast today on PA TV, Sheikh Mahmoud Salameh, Head of the Shar’i [Muslim religious] court of appeals, (belonging to the Ministry of Justice in the PA) called for jihad to help Iraq.[2] “…The jihad for the cause of Allah is one of the fundamentals of Islam…it is the duty of the Muslims to come to the aid of any Islamic land that is under attack…every Muslim wherever he may be…Islam obliges us to wage jihad. The Arab nation is a Muslim nation and Iraq is a Muslim nation that is under attack with missiles and other destructive weapons…even if Saddam Hussein committed some violations once, twice, three times-these are only violations-not crimes.”

Othman Abu Gharbiyya, Head of the Political and National Guidance Directorate, spoke on behalf of Yasser Arafat in memory of veteran ‘martyrs’ in a ceremony held yesterday in Ramallah[3]: “…The advocates of peace will not deceive us because peace is one piece and the blood of Iraq and Palestine are one…We have carried our rifles on our shoulders and we shall carry them in our arms in determination filled with the honor of the revolution and of the martyrs…”

General Khaled Musmar, Deputy Head of the Political and National Guidance Directorate, concurred stating that, “…the path of martyrs continues…there will be no peace without a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and our path is a path of martyrs…”[4]

The independent Jerusalem daily, Al-Quds, reported today that the Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad might soon unite. The same source asserted that the intentions of both movements to kidnap Israeli soldiers, in order to trade them for Palestinian prisoners, are “probable” and depend now on time and place.[5]

[1] The Jerusalem Times, Dec. 18, 1998

[2] PA Television, Dec. 18, 1998

[3] Al-Hayyat Al-Jadida, Dec. 18, 1998

[4] ibid.

[5] Al-Quds, Dec. 18, 1998