Over the past few weeks, the U.S. embassy has been forced to cancel two scheduled events in Ramallah that aimed to promote dialogue between Americans and Palestinians due to Palestinian pressure. The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces took credit for forcing the cancellations.

According to the official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Aug. 19, the U.S. embassy cancelled a gathering of alumni of U.S. educational and cultural programs after the PNIF called for a boycott and threatened to organize protests.

Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) also reported that a second meeting, between the U.S. embassy’s commercial attaché and Palestinian businesspeople, was cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice last week after the PNIF demanded it.

Calling the cancellation of the latest event U.S.-sponsored event “another Palestinian victory,” the PNIF said the planned meeting was the “Americans deliberately, arrogantly and rudely ignoring our people’s legal frameworks and bodies, and an attempt to bypass them and create direct contact with Palestinian figures and institutions through the embassy.”

To deter anyone from attempting to hold such events in the future, the PNIF “warned against the consequences of responding to any invitation from the embassy or any American institution that supports the occupation and U.S. policy, which denies our people’s rights and the decisions of international institutions. … Any party, institution, framework or person who would respond to these suspicious invitations [seeks] to undermine [Palestinian] internal stability.”

Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas, recently elaborated on how the Hamas and the P.A. under Yasser Arafat coordinated their operations during the Second Intifada, and the active role played by the PNIF. Speaking on Al Aqsa TV’s“A Story From History” on July 11, Yousef said: “We were in contact with [Hamas founder] Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, regular daily contact with Sheikh Yassin’s office. … Everything that the movement [Hamas] wanted I would convey [to Arafat], and we would sit and reach understandings, and discuss and talk among ourselves.

“Arafat would say to us: ‘At this stage, we want to calm things,’ and we would calm them. There was mutual agreement. And [Arafat would say]: ‘This time we want to move together and encourage things’—and there were mutual understandings. The national relations were expressed at the highest level at that time.”

Yousef continued: “We were at the heart of the events, we, Force 13 [of Hamas] and all of the forces, would meet. [We would] prepare the intifada activities at these [meetings]: we want this on this day, and on that day we will act that way. … And in every city a meeting of the National and Islamic Forces would be held, like the national coordination committees in Nablus for example, and there were coordination committees in Tulkarm, Hebron and so forth. And we were in contact, and the central [headquarters] were here in Ramallah.”

When the Second Intifada ended in 2005, the PNIF appeared to have stopped its violent activities. In the past few years, however, that violent element has reappeared, with calls for “Days of Rage” to protest the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the U.S.-led economic conference in Manama, Bahrain, in June.

Complementing its violent activities, a recent report by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry titled “Terrorist in Suits” named the PNIF as one of the foremost organizations in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee. The report noted that the PNIF is made up of numerous internationally designated terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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