By Mohammad Al-Sawwaf
GAZA CITY – Israeli attacks in the occupied West Bank are meant to wreck a fragile truce with Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza and drive a wedge between Hamas and other Palestinian groups, analysts have agreed.
"Israel is trying to undermine the truce by provoking resistance factions in Gaza to respond to its attacks in the West Bank," Palestinian analyst Hani Al-Bassos told IslamOnline.net.
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad member, in the West Bank town of Nablus on Tuesday, June 24.
In retaliation, Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.
An Egyptian-brokered truce, which came into effect on June 19, calls for a halt of the rocket fire from Gaza in return for stopping Israeli attacks and easing its economic blockade on the strip.
The truce does not cover the West Bank.
"Israel’s success in separating between the West Bank and Gaza in the truce deal will always be threatening to undermine the fragile Gaza truce," said Bassos.
Political analyst Hani Al-Masri agreed.
"The truce deal is originally doomed to failure," he said.
"The West Bank has been a major flaw in the truce agreement."
Analysts say Israeli attacks in the West Bank are also meant to drive a wedge between resistance factions by pushing Hamas to control other groups.
"Israel is provoking resistance factions in the West Bank to test Hamas," Ayman Youssef, professor of political science at the American University in the West Bank, told IOL.
He said Israel wants to test Hamas’ ability to control the resistance factions, particularly Islamic Jihad.
"Israel hopes that Hamas would be pushed into forcing Islamic Jihad’s armed wing Saraya Al-Quds Brigades to halt attacks from Gaza.
"Hamas should be prepared to this test," he said.
"It does not make sense to have a truce in Gaza while Israel is pursuing attacks in the West Bank," he said.
"This will cause to deepen Palestinian divisions and gives Israel the chance to complete its schemes in the West Bank."
Israel has been stepping up settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, infuriating Palestinians and drawing international criticism.
"Israel has its malicious schemes in the West Bank. It will continue its operations against the Palestinians in the West Bank with the aim of liquidating the Palestinian cause and provoking the resistance factions in Gaza," said Masri.
The analysts urged resistance factions to agree a concerted action against Israeli violations.
"Palestinian factions should not be dragged into response to Israeli provocations," said Bassos.
"(The factions) should reach a national consensus on how to respond to any Israeli provocation or assault."
The Palestinian factions have agreed to form a five-member committee to record Israeli violations and consider a possible response.
"Factions should also activate their resistance in the West Bank to force Israel to accept the truce," added Masri.
(Islamonline.net and news agencies)