The killing of the three Fatah operatives in Nablus by the IDF over the weekend could trigger a third intifada, Fatah officials warned on Sunday. But the new intifada, they said, would be different from the first two - this time it would be directed against the Palestinian Authority. During the funerals of the three men, all veteran members and leaders of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, thousands of Palestinians chanted slogans accusing the PA of collusion with Israel and calling for an end to security coordination with Israel and the dismantling of the PA. For several hours during the funerals, which took place in Nablus, it seemed as if the PA and not the IDF had killed the three men. It was, in the words of a local journalist, "one of the biggest anti-Palestinian Authority demonstrations" in many years. The relationship between the PA and local Fatah activists has always been tense. Nablus and its surrounding refugee camps, especially Balata refugee camp, has long been a stronghold for disgruntled Fatah militiamen who occasionally vent their frustration against the PA leadership and security forces. For years during the second intifada, Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, was controlled by dozens of Fatah gunmen and thugs who imposed a reign of terror on wealthy clans. Many local families did not hide their satisfaction when IDF troops raided the city during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and killed or arrested scores of Fatah gunmen, including the infamous Ahmed Tabouk, one of the leaders of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. In the context of its efforts to restore law and order to the city, the PA offered four years ago to recruit many of the gunmen to various branches of its security forces if they agreed to lay down their weapons. The PA also managed to persuade Israel to stop pursuing those gunmen who agreed to hand over their weapons and abandon violence. In return, the PA took on itself the mission of holding the "pardoned" gunmen in one of its security installations for a limited time and as a first step toward granting them total freedom of movement. Most of the Fatah gunmen who complied were added to the PA's payroll, but not all were happy with the arrangement. Some complained that the PA had broken its promise to appoint them to senior positions in its security forces, while others said that their salaries were too low. Others complained that despite their agreement to surrender their weapons and open a new page in their lives, Israeli security forces were continuing to target them. Friends and relatives of the Fatah operatives who were killed in the recent IDF operation accused the PA of failing to fulfill its "commitments" to give them more money and good jobs. Some did not rule out the possibility that the Fatah cell that murdered Rabbi Meir Chai last week had received money from an "outside" party, such as Hizbullah or even Hamas. In the past, there were a number of cases where Fatah militiamen in the West Bank openly admitted to receiving funds from Hizbullah. The gunmen justified their action by arguing that the PA had failed to "compensate" them for the "sacrifices" they made in the fight against Israel. The killing of the three men is now being exploited by leading figures in Fatah to incite against the PA leadership in Ramallah. One of the main instigators is Husam Khader, a charismatic and extremely popular Fatah operative from Balata who has long been attacking the PA and its security forces, accusing them of financial and moral corruption and collaboration with Israel. Khader and another senior Fatah operative, Kadoura Fares of Ramallah, are convinced that continued cooperation with Israel on security matters would eventually turn Palestinians against the PA leadership. The two, along with many of their followers in Fatah, believe that a third intifada is on its way, but that this time it would be directed against the PA and not Israel.