Palestinian militant groups react to Middle East peace plan

On Tuesday, President Trump made public his Middle East peace plan, “Peace to Prosperity,” which is the foundation for his proposed peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. The majority of militant factions in Gaza and the West Bank have publicly stated their full-throated opposition to the deal, some even mocking the plan.

The plan is primarily broken up into two parts, the political and economic frameworks. Under the frameworks, there are a total of twenty-two sections that cover security, trade, prisoners, refugees, and a whole host of other subjects.

Clip of Fursan al Fatah statement rejecting Trump’s peace plan

Fursan al Fatah Brigades, which considers itself the armed wing of Fatah, published a video stating:

“We in the Brigades of the Conquest of Fatah invite our people and the free world to confront this deal with blood and gunpowder, as this is the only language that this enemy and his supporters understand.

“We in the Al-Fursan Knights Brigade warn the enemy that our hand will reach it in the depths of its fortifications in Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarem, Jenin and inside the occupied area. You will also find us chasing you from above and below the ground.”

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – The Martyr Nabil Masoud Units

The al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who are located in Gaza and the West Bank, posted a message from the Quran in Arabic and Hebrew after Trump’s peace plan was unveiled.

“Permission (to fight in self-defense) is (now) given to those (Muslims) against whom war is waged (for no reason), because they have been done injustice to, and indeed Allah has the might and power to help them.”

The last line in Hebrew is not grammatically correct. However, what is likely trying to be said in a message to Israelis is “the finger is on the trigger.”

Israeli flag inside an hour glass: “Perhaps it will be soon.”

The Popular Resistance Committees and its military arm, Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, posted a message including a picture of the Israeli flag inside an hour glass.

“The Deal of the Century can only be fought, confronted and foiled only by unity, resistance and abandoning the humiliating Oslo Accords.”

Tawhid al Jihad, the salafist division of the Nasser Salah al Din Brigades, published several statements by its spokesperson, Abu Othman, on Wednesday.

“The Deal of the Century is all about selling Palestine and al Quds to the Jews. It will never be accepted except by the people and rulers who accept to be among the infidels.”

“The Deal of the Century and any similar deals that came before, and any deals that may come after, will fail against the steadiness of the Muslims and against the attacks of the Mujahedeen.”

Hamas’ al Qassam Brigades banner: “We won’t let the Deal of the Century be accepted

In a message posted on an the al Qassam Brigades’ channel, the group stated, “Khalil al Hayya, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, affirmed that the Palestinian people will resist in all available forms the American Deal of the Century, and that history will write about its advertiser Trump. He is among the ugliest criminals in the whole world, and challenges Trump and Netanyahu, to approach [remove] the resistance’s weapon.”

A few hours after the peace plan was made public, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general, Ziad al-Nakhalah, said:

“The Deal of the Century conspiracy poses a major challenge before us that requires us to change our approach to deal with everything. This challenge must make us leave the norm and push us to create new facts with our sacrifices and that we have the willingness and motivation to confront and address this bullying without hesitation.”

He also added that the “Arab attitude towards the Deal of the Century means that they have escaped their responsibilities towards the Palestinian issue and [they] ask us to return to an understanding with Israel.”

The militant factions, including those affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ party, Fatah, have made it clear that they reject President Trump’s peace deal and are willing to thwart its implementation.

If the mechanisms to implement the peace deal begin to work, the chance of militant groups resorting to military confrontation in Gaza and the West Bank should be taken seriously.

In the early 1990’s and 2000’s, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other militant groups, planned and carried out suicide attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers in order to thwart the Oslo Accords.

It is worthwhile to consider that Hamas and other factions may resort to the same tactics that brought them success in the past, which is the underlying threat in their message of rejection towards President Trump’s peace plan. An increase in rocket/mortar fire from the Gaza Strip, the launch of balloons with IED’s, attacks at the security fence against IDF soldiers and militant operations in the West Bank are all options Palestinian militant factions will consider and likely employ the further they feel threatened about the peace deal being implemented.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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