Palestinians: Let us tame wild Jenin
The West Bank city of Jenin has been officially handed over to Palestinian control, but the Israeli army still goes in to arrest and assassinate militants.
Jenin, West Bank
Throughout most of the decade, Jenin has been synonymous with what Palestinians generally call fawda: a mix of chaos with the might of gun-toting militants trying to impose their own brand of law and order.Skip to next paragraph
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Today, the Palestinian Authority (PA) police and paramilitary forces, recently returned from US-sponsored training in Jordan, have fanned out around Jenin as part of a new security campaign to regain control of West Bank cities such as this one, which have been in disarray since the start of the Al Aqsa intifada nearly eight years ago.
But getting in their way, Palestinian officials charge, is an ongoing series of Israeli army raids here, in nearby Nablus, and elsewhere in the West Bank. While uniformed Palestinian police may look as if they're in control by day, when the clock strikes midnight, the Israeli army comes out to arrest and sometimes assassinate militants on its wanted list.
"The impact of such a situation is that the Israelis come in to shoot and to arrest, and this makes us lose credibility because people feel that we can't protect them," says Lt. Yaeesh Danoof, who oversees a key checkpoint leading into Jenin, as his men watch for unlicensed guns and stolen cars.
The sense people here take away, Lieutenant Danoof worries, is that even inside West Bank cities that have ostensibly been returned to Palestinian security control, everyone is still under the thumb of the Israeli army.
"The tahdiyeh should have included the West Bank," he adds, referring to a temporary cease-fire between Hamas and Israel that went into effect three weeks ago. While the deal only included Hamas-run Gaza, many Palestinians say that Israeli operations in West Bank will push the fragile truce closer to collapse.
Over the past three days, Israeli troops have made several raids on Hamas-affiliated institutions in nearby Nablus. A spokesman for the City of Nablus said Israeli forces broke into the municipality building and confiscated computers from city hall, raided six mosques, and seized five buses belonging to schools close to Hamas.
Just days after the truce was initiated on June 19, an Israeli army raid killed two Islamic Jihad operatives from Jenin, after which Islamic Jihad in Gaza launched several Qassam rockets into Israel, casting doubt on the truce's viability. On Thursday, the period of calm was again rattled. In the morning, a Palestinian was shot and killed by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) along the Gaza border. In the afternoon, Palestinian militants launched a Qassam rocket at a kibbutz inside Israel.
586 stolen cars, 100 weapons