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JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority is engaged in a multi-pronged effort to press the U.S. to continue talks to create a Palestinian state beyond Secretary of State John Kerry’s deadline for momentum at the end of this month.
According to informed Middle Eastern security officials, the PA pressure tactics include re-establishing its terrorist group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; threatening to dismantle the PA; and efforts to reconcile with the rival Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.
Kerry had imposed a deadline for the outline of an Israeli-PA interim agreement at the end of April, but the talks have reportedly stalled.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is now working several fronts to pressure Washington to extend the deadline.
One such front is a claim that in the absence of an agreement, Abbas will have no choice but to dismantle the PA.
WND reported exclusively last month the governing body that created the Palestinian Authority is studying the possibility of dismantling the PA if a major breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian talks is not achieved in the near future.
The PA was created by the PLO following the 1993 Oslo Accords that first granted the Palestinians some sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The dismantling of the PA is unlikely if for no other reason than the rank corruption in its midst. Companies controlled by Abbas’ sons have been accused of siphoning more than $1.5 billion in international aid to the PA through various offshoot companies.
Another pressure tactic clearly being used by Abbas, the Middle Eastern security officials told WND, is a threat to reconstitute the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the so-called military wing of Abbas’ Fatah organization.
Yesterday, WND and several other media outlets here received text messages from members of the Brigades based in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The messages claimed the Brigades is once again back in the fight and is preparing for a new round of confrontations against Israel, including attacks against the Israel Defense Forces.
The Middle Eastern security officials said that for the moment there is no indication the Brigades have been given any green light by Abbas or other top PA officials to carry out attacks.
Last week, WND reported Brigade members disarmed as part of a 2007 amnesty agreement between the PA and Israel have taken up weapons in violation of the amnesty deal.
The Brigades, declared by the U.S. State Department as an official terrorist group, is responsible for suicide bombings, shootings and other terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, in yet another effort to pressure Washington to extend the talks, Abbas’ Fatah party is set to meet with leading members of the rival Hamas group to talk about reconciliation. The clearly intended message is that if a peace deal is not reached, Abbas will be left with no other option but to reach out to Hamas.
Last week, Kerry blamed both Israel and the Palestinians for the collapse in the talks, but he placed much of the responsibility on Israel.
Kerry claimed Israel’s refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, including convicted terrorists, as part of a gesture to Abbas, was behind the failure of the talks. Kerry ignored Abbas’ refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s existence or his drive to seek United Nations recognition despite a pledge not to do so.
Kerry also did not mention the rampant anti-Israel incitement in official PA media and other institutions.
“Both sides wound out in a position of unhelpful moves,” Kerry told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations when asked about the collapse of the talks.
“The prisoners were not released by Israel on the day they were supposed to be released and then another day passed and another day, and then 700 units were approved in Jerusalem and then poof – that was sort of the moment,” Kerry said.