Gaza Is a 'Volcano About to Erupt,' Palestinian Factions Warn Israel

Joint statement follows weekend that saw three Palestinians killed and skirmishes across the border, as local media report Qatari envoy to arrive in Gaza Thursday

Palestinian boys ride bicycles between Islamic Jihad militants during an anti-Israel military show at Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, June 20, 2019.
\ MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

Palestinian factions in Gaza warned Israel on Monday that the Strip is "a volcano that is about to erupt" and that "Israel is continuing to play with fire."

In a joint statement, the factions described the recent attempts by armed Palestinians to cross the border as a testament to the volatile situation. "The occupation's crimes against the Palestinian people and the holy sites will not go unanswered," the statement said, referring also to recent clashes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

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>> Read more: Escalating incidents on Gaza-Israel border indicate Hamas is losing its grip | Analysis

The factions called on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to "set ablaze the ground under the Zionists' feet."

On Saturday, three Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire on the border fence in the northern Strip, the Gazan health ministry reported.

The incident came hours after three Gaza rockets were launched at Israel. Two were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Recent escalation on the Israel-Gaza border.
AFP

Reports in Gaza say Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi will arrive in the Strip on Thursday through Erez Crossing. According to Palestinian sources, Al-Emadi will meet with Hamas leaders and hold meetings both to advance infrastructure projects as well as payments to needy families.

The Jordanian parliament convened Monday for an emergency meeting over recent clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Lawmakers passed a non-binding motion calling on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador to Amman and reconsider Jordan’s peace agreement with its western neighbor.

Hamas losing grip

Haaretz's Amos Harel wrote on Sunday that escalating incidents on the Gaza-Israel border indicate that Hamas is losing its grip. According to Harel, most of the young men who have tried to cross the Gaza border fence into Israel in recent weeks were in the past associated with Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Some left those groups and moved closer to the extremist Salafi groups active in the Gaza Strip. Others have not officially left the mainstream organizations.

Their attacks apparently reflect frustration over Hamas for distancing itself from violent confrontations with Israel, along with criticism over the scant accomplishments that agreement to keep things quiet has provided to Gaza residents.