Following the deadly terror attack in Huwara on Sunday, the Palestinian Authority accused Iran of fomenting unrest in Judea and Samaria, according to Israeli media reports.
P.A. security sources told Israeli public broadcaster Kan News that Tehran is teaming up with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to destabilize the area, and encouraging cooperation between the two terror organizations.
According to the report, the terrorist responsible for the shooting deaths of Shay Silas Nigrekar, 60, and his 28-year-old son Aviad Nir, was not a resident of Huwara but traveled there from the surrounding area to carry out the attack.
On the same day as the deadly shooting, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders in Tehran boasted that the “resistance axis has the upper hand vis-a-vis the Zionist regime,” according to the IRGC-linked Tasnim News Agency.
“The usurper Israel is today gripped by tough conditions both from inside and outside. Recently, 15 to 30 daily attacks have been carried out by the resistance forces against the Zionist regime in the West Bank,” said Esmail Ghaani, the IRGC’s Quds Force commander.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday that over the weekend that the “Jenin Battalion,” whose members are affiliated with the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have announced that they won’t allow anyone to confiscate their weapons.
“We will absolutely not allow anyone, whoever it is, to take the weapons of the resistance away from us,” the terror group said at a rally on Friday night to commemorate the 12 Palestinian combatants killed in last month’s Israeli military operation in Jenin.
The announcement is being understood as a direct challenge to the Palestinian Authority, which has been seeking to reestablish control in the city following the IDF operation.
Among the measures the P.A. is taking in Jenin include offering amnesty for members of terror groups who turn in their weapons, according to the Tazpit Press Service. 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 Jerusalem Post on Sunday cited senior PIJ official Saeed Nakhleh as stating that the terror group was nevertheless not targeting P.A. security forces.
“Although the security forces of the Palestinian Authority are chasing and arresting the resistance fighters on orders from the occupation and the United States, our rifles will remain directed only toward the Zionist enemy. The day will come when the members of the security forces will realize that what they did against the mujahidin [warriors] was not right,” said Nakhleh.
Many Israelis live near Huwara and pass through there or stop to eat or shop in the village. Route 60, the main north-south highway in Judea and Samaria, runs through the village.
Earlier this year the Israeli military undertook transportation infrastructure upgrades to increase security for Israelis driving through Huwara after a series of Palestinian terror attacks.
Israel’s Transportation Minister Miri Regev has pledged to accelerate the completion of a bypass road around Huwara to improve security for motorists.