October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is unaware of Israel's plans to launch a military operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior official said Sunday.

Recent reports about possible fighting in Gaza "aim to turn the attention of the West away from the main issues," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official. The main issues were the Israeli occupation and its measures "to make Jerusalem more Jewish," he said.

On Saturday, sources close to the Islamic Hamas movement said that an Egyptian delegation, which visited Ramallah Thursday, had warned the Palestinian leadership "of a new aggression" on Gaza.

Hamas columnist Mustafa Sawaf wrote that the Egyptian delegation led by Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit had conveyed that a military operation in Gaza would take place by the end of this year.

Israel was unhappy with the growth of Hamas' military strength and the flow of international aid convoys to Gaza, Sawaf said.

Earlier this month, Israeli Environment Minister Gilad Erdan threatened to wage offensive in Gaza, similar to the Operation Cast Lead from December 2008 to January 2009, which left about 1, 400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

On Saturday, the deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya said that Israel would not carry out another offensive in the coastal territory on the short run.

"This threat is kind of an Israeli psychological war against the Palestinian people," Haneya said.


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