The Palestinian Authority is facing growing pressure to cut all ties with Israel and stop its security crackdown on its political rivals in the West Bank in the aftermath of Wednesday’s IDF operation in Jenin.
Four Palestinian gunmen were killed and 44 others were wounded during the military operation, which was followed by a general strike in all West Bank cities.
The Palestinians killed were identified as Rahman Hazem, the brother of the terrorist who carried out the shooting on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv in April; and Ahmad Alawneh, a member of the Palestinian Authority security services; and Muhammad al-Wana and Muhammad Abu Naasa.
Why did the IDF enter Jenin?
The Israeli operation began early on Wednesday morning when soldiers and Border Police officers surrounded a house in Jenin to arrest two wanted suspects. After the suspects threw an explosive toward the Israeli forces, they responded with gunfire and killed the two terrorists.
The two suspects, one of whom was identified by the IDF as Hazem, were involved in a number of recent shootings, including against a vehicle used by the Defense Ministry near Jalama, in the Jenin region, earlier this month. The two were also said to be planning terrorist attacks in the near future.
Rahman was the brother of Ra’ad Hazem, the Palestinian terrorist who killed three people on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv in April.
Israeli forces remain on high alert amid a heightened risk of terrorist attacks during the High Holy Days, as well as a string of recent terrorist attacks in the West Bank.
Fatah called for a “day of rage” on Wednesday in response to the Israeli operations in Jenin.
After the operation, a number of Palestinian groups repeated their demand that the PA stop its security coordination with Israel. They urged Palestinians in the West Bank to step up the “resistance” attacks against soldiers and settlers.
The groups also urged the PA to stop its “political arrests” in the West Bank, referring to the crackdown by the PA security forces on its political rivals.
Palestinian Authority accuses Israel of "massacres" against Palestinians
“The Israeli occupation is continuing to tamper with security and stability. Israel and the US have lost their credibility.”Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA president Mahmoud Abbas
The PA did not comment on the calls to sever its ties with Israel. Senior PA officials, however, launched a scathing attack on Israel and accused it of committing “massacres” against the Palestinians.
“The Israeli occupation is continuing to tamper with security and stability,” PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said. “Israel and the US have lost their credibility.”
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Israel bears responsibility for the repercussions of the Jenin “crime.” The IDF counterterrorism operations were part of the upcoming Israeli election campaign, he said.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the security forces had acted with “determination.”
“We will not be deterred and will not hesitate to act against anyone who tries to raise his hand against the citizens of Israel and the security forces,” he said.
US Ambassador Tom Nides on Wednesday said the US was monitoring events in Jenin.
“We are watching very closely the activity that is going on in Jenin this morning,” he said. “We are fully supportive of protecting Israelis to make sure that those who are lone terrorists are unable to do those activities.”
The ruling Fatah faction, headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of perpetrating “massacres” against the Palestinians. The IDF crackdown would only strengthen the Palestinians’ determination to pursue the “resistance,” it said.
Responding to the IDF operation, Hamas called on the PA to immediately halt security coordination with Israel. Abdel Latif Qanou, a spokesman for the Gaza-based terrorist group, called on the Palestinians to launch a “new intifada.”
Hazem Qassem, another Hamas representative, said Israel would “pay a price for its terrorism.” The armed groups in the West Bank are capable of stepping up their attacks against Israel despite the ongoing IDF crackdown, he said, adding that the PA has become “isolated from its people.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the second-largest faction of the PLO after Fatah, said the PA must immediately stop the security coordination and “all forms of relations” with Israel. The PFLP called on the PA to “endorse the language of an all-out confrontation” with Israel.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), another PLO faction; Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a number of armed groups in the Gaza Strip threatened to avenge the blood of the Jenin “martyrs.”
The groups joined the calls to the PA to cut all ties with Israel, including security coordination, and urged the Palestinians in the West Bank to increase their attacks on soldiers and settlers.