In a September 6, 2023 interview with the Al-Jazeera website, Saleh Al-'Arouri, deputy-head of Hamas' political bureau who was killed in a January 2, 2024 airstrike in Beirut, spoke at length about the recent escalation in the terror attacks and armed struggle waged against Israel in the West Bank by Hamas and the other terror organizations. Noting that the armed resistance in the West Bank has "reached a new level," he stated that the supreme goal of the resistance is to continue developing, drawing inspiration from the model of the Gazan resistance, until it achieves effective rocket capabilities in the West Bank. He added that Hamas and the other armed factions "are highly coordinated" and fight together on the ground.
Emphasizing that all the Palestinian arenas are united against Israel, Al-'Arouri said that the West Bank is now the spearhead of the resistance. He added that the Islamic countries, too, should take an active part in a multi-front confrontation with the enemy, and warned that the policies of the Israeli government are likely to cause the outbreak of a broad and dangerous war "within two or three years."
Al-'Arouri also and called on the Palestinians to take advantage of the international developments, including America's preoccupation with the war in Ukraine and its desire to maintain calm in other arenas, in order to escalate the confrontation with Israel. "It behooves us to take this opportunity to tangibly and significantly escalate our resistance, so that it threatens the calm and stability [the U.S.] wants," he said, and added: "This is an opportunity we definitely must not miss."
Saleh Al-'Arouri (Image: Aljazeera.net, September 6, 2023)
The following are excerpts from the interview:
The Rocket Launches From The West Bank Are A Milestone For The Resistance There
Q: "A notable recent [development] is that Hamas' military wing has claimed responsibility for several self-sacrifice operations in the West Bank, deviating from its years-long policy of welcoming operations [there] without claiming responsibility for them. What has changed in your policy of resistance in the West Bank?"
A: "Hamas is present in the resistance [arena], but claims of responsibility for self-sacrifice operations are [issued] based on the considerations of its military wing. This is not a new policy, but it depends on the interests of the resistance… From the operational perspective, [Hamas] has claimed responsibility for resistance operations that were carried out by operatives who were martyred or were wanted by the occupation. Some operatives left statements or photos indicating their membership in [Hamas'] military wing, [so there was no point in hiding this fact]. But the movement refrains from claiming responsibility for operations that have not been exposed or when the operatives have not been martyred, in order to protect the resistance fighters."
Q: "How do you explain the fact that the armed resistance is [now] concentrated in the northern West Bank? Is it expected to spread to the rest of the areas?"
A: "We believe and act [on the assumption] that all parts of the West Bank, from the north to the south, are strongholds of support for the resistance. But there is a reason for the situation [you described]. The resistance in the northern [West Bank] developed rapidly and significantly due to the withdrawal of the occupation from several parts of it in 2005. The resistance also has long-standing strongholds in the Jenin refugee camp and in the Nablus Old City, and this enables all its factions [in that area] to regroup more quickly… The fact is that the resistance activity is spreading, and, Allah willing, it will continue to develop…"
Q: "The launching of rockets by the Al-'Ayyash Brigade was a milestone for the resistance in the West Bank, even if the rockets were primitive. What messages do these rockets convey to the occupation, and are the security infrastructures in the West Bank conducive to developing rockets, as happened in Gaza?"
A: "Developing the resistance is a top priority for Hamas and the [other] resistance factions, and achieving the ability to hurt and exhaust the enemy, in order to force it to recognize our national and political rights, is a major goal… Thus, the task of developing the resistance and making it efficient and effective, including by attaining efficient and effective rocket [capabilities in the West Bank], is a supreme goal that merits the investment of all our abilities and energy.
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"The resistance in the West Bank recently reached a new level despite the difficult conditions and the limited abilities, which stem from the security and military siege that is imposed by the occupation on the Palestinian territories and on the means of developing the resistance. But the young people in the West Bank are stubborn and steadfast, and we now see the younger generation of the resistance investing efforts in developing and manufacturing [munitions]…
"The Gazan model of developing the resistance is a source of inspiration, [and it demonstrates] that the Palestinian spirit never surrenders or breaks. The resistance in the West Bank will therefore continue on the path of development, which will surely bring it to a situation where it can confront the occupation…"
The West Bank Is Now Spearheading The Confrontation; The Islamic Nation Must Wage A Multi-Front Campaign Against Israel
Q: "Let me ask directly. Is Hamas connected to the brigades in Jenin and in Nablus and to the armed groups that have begun to spread in the West Bank?"
A: "The military groups are highly coordinated. The Al-Qassam Brigades are present in Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarm, and take part in repelling the incursions [of the Israeli armed forces], alongside the other factions. In fact, most of the high-quality operations were carried out by members of the Al-Qassam Brigades… Moreover, the influence of the [Hamas] movement and the involvement of its operatives in the field have contributed to the development of the resistance activity on the ground. The defensive action of the resistance went through several phases before assuming the form of guerilla warfare and ambushes, like the [action taken] to drive back the incursions into the Jenin [refugee] camp…"
Q: "You have adopted the slogan of 'the unity of the fronts.' Does this refer to the Palestinian fronts, [namely] Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the interior [of Israel, inside the Green Line], or to the Arab arenas surrounding Palestine? And do the international, regional and local conditions make it possible to realize this slogan?"
A: "The Palestinian arenas are united in the face of the enemy, and are engaged in an integrated struggle in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian interior, for we are all confronting the same danger… Today the West Bank is spearheading the confrontation with the enemy. This is because a single campaign does not suffice to bring about the withdrawal and dismantling of the settlement enterprise. [Only] a war of attrition waged in the West Bank with the support of the other arenas will result in the withdrawal of this enterprise…
"As for a campaign on multiple fronts, it is meant to restore the role of the [Islamic] nation in the liberation of Palestine. The campaign in Palestine is against an enterprise that the West is supporting with all its might. We see that the U.S. is actively involved in trying to dismantle the resistance, and continues to provide the Zionist enterprise with a protective umbrella. Therefore, the people of the [Islamic] nation and the resistance forces must chart a genuine and practical course [towards] a multi-front confrontation with the Zionist enemy. The faith of the nation, of its people and forces, in their practical role must be translated into [action] on the ground by preparing for this task…"
The Israeli Government Will Soon Bring Us To A Dangerous Regional War
Q: "Since the advent of the [current] Netanyahu government, which is based on extremist religious currents, the attacks and crimes of the settlers in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the villages of the West Bank have intensified. How do you see the future of the conflict with the occupation in light of this attack?"
A: "This government is unprecedented in the history of the [Zionist] entity, and it is dangerous in the full sense of the word… This government is proceeding on three dangerous tracks: [First,] it is causing a rift within the Zionist society, and that is a good thing. [Second], it is likely to cause the outbreak of a broad conflict in the near future, due to its actions in Al-Aqsa and its plans for the West Bank. [By 'near future'] I mean within two or three years, during its remaining years in office. [Third, this government] may lead to the outbreak of a regional war, due to Netanyahu's policy towards Iran and Hizbullah. We must all take into consideration that, in the near future, [namely] in the next two years, this government will surely push the entire region into a broad, comprehensive and very dangerous confrontation.
"On the strategic level, all of us – the Hamas movement and the entire Palestinian people, with all its sectors – must wage our campaign against the occupation and the settlements. Waiting puts us in a weaker position and strengthens them. It allows them to increase the number of settlers and to impose facts on the ground, especially now that the West Bank has been placed in the hands of the nationalist religious current [in Israel], which does as it pleases there.
"We should take advantage of the international changes, especially the distress of the U.S., and the eroding credibility of the international [bodies], which are unable to end the Zionist occupation despite all the international resolutions that address it. [These changes also include] the international position that rejects the legitimacy of the settlements and the actions of the extremist [Israeli] government, and the desire of the world, and especially of the U.S., to prevent the outbreak of a broad conflict in the region, so that [the U.S.] will be free to focus on its conflict with Russia.
"Therefore, if we significantly, effectively and tangibly escalate our resistance in the field, against the settlements and the occupation army, global stability and regional security will be on the brink of collapse, and we will be able to genuinely expel the occupation from the West Bank…"
We Must Take Advantage Of America's Preoccupation With Ukraine To Escalate Our Struggle Against Israel
Q: "Do you think that the West's preoccupation with the strategic conflict with China and Russia can have a positive effect on the Palestinian issue, and if so, how?"
A: "The international conflict taking place in Ukraine is a Western war against Russia, in which the U.S. and the West are trying to incorporate more countries into their security array in order to maintain their global hegemony and prevent the emergence of a new major force [i.e., a multi-polar world order]… This is the first time since 1990 we see global action aimed at ending the unipolar [world] order imposed by the U.S. and the West, [an order] which has contributed to positioning [the U.S.] as the sole player handling the Palestinian issue and the Arab world…
"The U.S. ascribes importance to the present struggle with Russia for global influence, and therefore places top priority on preventing additional conflicts and on maintaining global calm and stability until the war in Ukraine ends. It behooves us to take this opportunity to tangibly and significantly escalate our resistance, so that it threatens the calm and stability [that the U.S.] wants.
"It also behooves us to prevent the enemy and its Zionist government from carrying out its present plot in Palestine while the world is preoccupied with the international conflict. We will not wait until the world undertakes to end the occupation, for this world is dominated by a hypocritical force, led by the U.S. and Europe, who are paying Ukraine tens of billions, purportedly in order to 'defend the freedom of the Ukrainian people,' and are providing it with every kind of weapon – while Palestine has been occupied for 75 years, [and there are] dozens of U.N. resolutions regarding it, yet the international community is not acting to realize the rights of our people.
"We must force the world to face its responsibility and expose this double standard, especially that of the U.S. and the West…
"This is an opportunity we must definitely not miss. It must be seized by every political and diplomatic means. But the main and genuine means is the escalation of the resistance through a direct and comprehensive confrontation between our people and the occupation and the settlements."
 It should be noted that, in a series of recent interviews with the Iranian media, Ziad Nakhaleh, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), also addressed the escalation of the armed struggle in the West Bank and the coordination among the various armed factions there. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10721 - Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Secretary-General Ziad Al-Nakhaleh In Interviews With Iranian Media: We Manufacture Weapons Thanks To Aid Provided By Iran And Seek To Arm All West Bank Cities; No Jew Anywhere In The World Lives In Greater Danger Than The Jews In Palestine – July 24, 2023. On the duplication of the Gazan methods in the West Bank, and the increased coordination between the Palestinian terror organizations and the escalation of their activity, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1707 - Palestinian Terror Organizations Are Duplicating Gaza Strip Fighting Methods In West Bank – August 8, 2023.
 Aljazeera.net, September 6, 2023.
 Apparently a reference to Israel's withdrawal from an area in the northern West Bank as part of its 2005 Disengagement from Gaza and North Samaria.