Israeli settlers in the West Bank are legitimate targets since they are an army in every sense of the word, a senior Hamas official told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday, adding that Palestinians were still committed to an armed struggle against Israel.
The comment by Ezzat al-Rashk, a member of Hamas’s political office, came in the wake of recent attacks against Israeli citizens in the West Bank.
On Tuesday, four Israelis were killed when unknown assailants opened fire at a vehicle they were traveling in near the West Bank city of Hebron. The following night, two Israelis were wounded in a similar shooting attack at the Rimonim Junction near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“Attacking settlers is a natural thing,” al-Rashk told Al-Hayat on Saturday, saying the “Zionist settlers are the occupation’s first reserve military force.”
“They are now a real army in every sense of the word, with more than 500,000 automatic weapons at their disposal, on top of the basic protection by the [Israel Defense Forces],” the Hamas official said.
Al-Rashk also referred to the ongoing attempt to relaunch talks between Israel and the PA, saying they were noting more “than a media circus through which the U.S. administration wants to market its policy.”
Another Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, the organization’s Lebanon spokesperson, told the London-based newspaper that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was willing to forfeit “99 percent of the Palestinians’ rights, saying negotiations were over before they even began.