Leading Islamic Jihad figure Khaled al-Batch is over fifty and has been a part of the Palestinian struggle for years. ...He helped orchestrate a series of bombings in Israel that ravaged the country during the outbreak of the Second Intifada.The world's complicity for the PLO's September stunt is laying the groundwork for an almost inevitable breakout of terrorism and war. No one will win, and everyone will be worse off than they are today.
And now Batch, sitting barefoot in his Gaza office, says he’s convinced the Third Palestinian Intifada will erupt in a matter of months.
“There are only valid targets over there,” he says, in response to a question about the possibility of attacks on Israeli civilians.
...[N]ow Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, expects strong support from Egypt in the struggle against Israel. Egyptian policy change toward the Palestinians has already taken shape. In May, the Rafah crossing re-opened, after five years of blockade.
“They realized the bilateral talks led them to nowhere. This is why they will try a unilateral move with the UN,” says [Hamas spokesman Fawzi] Barhum. “We have agreed to delay the real reconciliation and the forming of the transitional government until the general assembly is over. The US will veto our request for sure. This will generate a vacuum in our political options. The chances for a third intifada are high, ” he adds.
The majority of significantly armed factions in the Gaza Strip, like the Naser Salahadin Brigades and Islamic Jihad, agree with Barhum's assessment. Leaders, such as Khaled Batch, claim they are in the process of readying themselves for armed uprising.
“In spite of all the efforts of Israel, Hamas and its allies managed to get weapons through smuggling,” says Walla Karaja, a journalist working for the UNRWA. “Since the reconciliation, the military trainings have increased in the Strip, and, we heard, that huge quantities of weapons arrived from the outside.”
After several days of negotiations, Al-Masry Al-Youm recently met one leader of Nasser Salahadin Brigades, under strict conditions. In the Laurate woods of Nuseirat, two armed and masked men escorted Al-Masry Al-Youm - after placing a hood over the reporter’s head - to an exit point of one of the Gaza Strip’s largest tunnels.
These tunnels are not made for smuggling. They are constructed to connect all the strategic points of the Strip underground. One brigade member, insisting on using an alias, called himself Abu Seiar, the father of the sword. He had just returned from Syria, after receiving military training there. He was taught, he claimed, how to use anti-tank weaponry, among other skills.
“I was called home because I'm an expert in building non-commercial tunnels,” says Abu Seiar, whose job now is to strengthen the existing tunnels and attach new strategic exits. “Others have returned from Lebanon and Iran. Everyone knows that something is going to happen.”
“We haven't felt anything from the so-called border opening yet…business as usual,” says Omar, a proud owner of two commercial tunnels in his home in Rafah. Omar also requested a pseudonym. “But one thing is for sure…Hamas reintroduced the taxing of cigarettes and other luxury products from Egypt, because they badly need money. There is a huge movement in their tunnels at nighttime as well.”
It seems preparations in Gaza are indisputably underway for another round of conflict, but the incident that will spur a call to arms cannot be forecasted.
[T]alking with people on the streets of Gaza, its obvious there isn’t widespread support for another full-fledged uprising. In fact, not one ordinary Palestinian I met leveled support for such a campaign.
“Look at the conditions how we live,” some say. “This is the result of the first and second uprising. If we start a new one, they [the Israelis] will cut our throat.”
Yet, outside the US, no one is seriously trying to stop this train wreck.