update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Hamas recruiting PA security personnel

The Iran-backed terrorist organization is trying to exploit the Palestinian Authority's financial woes.

P.A. police officers drill scenarios in Nablus, Samaria, on March 14, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
P.A. police officers drill scenarios in Nablus, Samaria, on March 14, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

Hamas has recruited “dozens” of members of the U.S.-trained Palestinian Authority security forces, using them as combatants and for intelligence gathering, Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported on Monday evening, citing senior officials in Ramallah.

The Iran-backed terrorist organization is attempting to take advantage of the P.A.’s financial woes, added the report, noting that Ramallah has not paid its employees full wages since November 2021.

Many of the P.A.’s 130,000 public workers have received only 80% of their salary in recent months, with the Palestinian leadership claiming financial hardship due to Israel’s withholding of tax revenue.

Per a 2018 law, Jerusalem has deducted taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the P.A. in an amount equal to that which it paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 as part of its “pay for slay” policy. In 2022, the P.A. paid out an estimated 865 million shekels ($228.9 million) under this policy.

According to Kan News, P.A. security forces were investigating Monday morning’s terrorist shooting, in which a 40-year-old Israeli woman was killed and a 39-year-old man was seriously wounded while driving on the Route 60 highway, close to the Beit Hagai Junction.

The slain woman was identified as Batsheva Nigri, a kindergarten teacher and mother of three from Beit Hagai, an Israeli community in the South Hebron Hills. The other victim, identified as Aryeh Gottlieb, was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva.

In a statement published several hours after the attack, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades—an armed “militia” of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party—claimed responsibility.

Members of the P.A. Security Forces (PASF), trained and armed by the United States and other Western countries, have a long history of carrying out terrorist attacks. Earlier this year, Abbas’s Fatah faction boasted that most of its “martyrs,” i.e. slain terrorists, served in the PASF.

Also on Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, speaking at a meeting of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders held in the Gaza Strip, ruled out any negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict while calling for more terrorist attacks.

Haniyeh furthermore called for improved coordination between terrorist groups in the Judea and Samaria, saying that the Oslo Accords and other attempts at a political solution have failed, the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News outlet reported.

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