As the Palestinian Authority continues its efforts to reassert control in Jenin following Israel’s 48-hour security operation there in early July, Israeli officials say the true test is whether the P.A. has the will and ability to dismantle terror groups in the city and the surrounding area.
A Palestinian source in Jenin told the Tazpit Press Service that nearly 500 Palestinian security personnel have been deployed in the city, but that none have entered the refugee camp so far. The camp is home to 18,000 Palestinians, densely packed in an area of about half a square kilometer, or about 124 acres.
TPS has learned that Ramallah’s instructions to the security forces primarily revolve around preventing any activities by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and quelling general support for terrorism.
A source in the Israel Defense Forces confirmed to TPS that the IDF is allowing the P.A. to attempt to regain control in the city and the refugee camp. The source emphasized that the true test of the P.A.’s intentions will be whether it takes action to dismantle the armed terrorist groups.
Other measures the P.A. is taking include offering amnesty for members of terror groups who turn in their weapons. This amnesty includes economic benefits and assistance in finding employment. However, it isn’t clear how many Palestinians have taken advantage of the P.A.’s offer.
“This method also worked in Nablus and led to the self-surrender of some members of the Lions’ Den organization,” a Palestinian official in that city told TPS.
Meanwhile, the P.A. governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, told TPS, “The Palestinian Authority will not allow any manifestations of anarchy in its territories and will not allow any of the various parties to harm the government institutions.”
More than 10 members of PIJ’s “Jaba Battalion” have been arrested by P.A forces so far. A Palestinian source in Jenin told TPS that these were the people who set fire to a police station to protest against the P.A.’s lack of response to Israel’s operation in the refugee camp.
The situation in Jenin remains strained. In recent days, reports have multiplied of Palestinian security forces arresting the relatives of terrorists as a way of pressuring them to surrender their weapons. Detainees have included seemingly untouchable individuals, such as those who have served time in Israeli prisons, relatives of “martyrs” and senior Hamas and even P.A. figures.
Clashes have also broken out between P.A. security forces and Palestinians celebrating acts of violence against Israel.
A number of students, writers and critics of P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas have also been arrested in P.A. roundups.