Palestinian Opposition to Cease-Fire More Widespread

(Washington Post)- The bomb blast Monday that killed a 65-year-old Israeli mother of eight in her home came as other Palestinian militants threatened to continue attacking Israelis, suggesting that internal opposition to the cease-fire is more intense and widespread than Palestinian leaders have acknowledged. Islamic Jihad's leader in the West Bank, Sheik Bassam Saadi, confirmed that the bomber, Ahmad Fathi Yihia, 22, was a member of the organization from Kufeirat, a village near Jenin. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) also faces a serious challenge from Fatah's militants, who are refusing to back the cease-fire. Four al-Aqsa units have come out against it. The head of al-Aqsa in the old city of Nablus in the West Bank denied that the group has agreed to the cease-fire, saying his unit was planning imminent attacks against Israelis. The group's leadership committee has not agreed to a truce, "and this is the official point of view from Jenin to Rafiah," he said. The group's branches in Jenin and Kalkilya, another West Bank city, have also come out against the cease-fire. The opposition reflects a lack of support for Abbas and could presage internal opposition to any attempts he may make to disarm his movement's militant wing, as the U.S. and Israel have demanded. "I think the opposition to Abu Mazen from within al-Aqsa is the most serious he's facing," said Ali Jerbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University in the West Bank. "I don't think the Abu Mazen government has the capability or the intention of disarming them."

2003-07-09 00:00:00

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