While Zionist leaders in Israel accuse the PA of being unable to maintain security, and of failing to fulfil its duty of preventing acts of violence against Israelis, using this as a justification for storming West Bank cities and killing citizens on suspicion of resistance, the PA arrested Musab Shtayyeh, one of the Qassam Brigades leaders in Nablus, and Ameed, one of the leaders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the city.
Therefore, we ask what are the messages that the Israeli side is sending with its discourse, and what messages is the PA sending with its arrest of resistance activists, while the PA did not lift a finger when the Israeli security forces, Shabak, and army stormed Nablus, killed Ibrahim Nabulsi and resistance fighters in it, and then withdrew in front of the security agencies.
The message from the Israeli side is probably clear and known to everyone, but the message from the PA seems vague at this particular moment in time, and I mean in terms of its timing. This comes at a time when there are consecutive Israeli threats regarding the PA's inability, and direct work in the West Bank on one hand, and the time when the 77th session of the UN General Assembly is being held, where Mahmoud Abbas, President of the PA, will deliver the Palestine speech next Friday, on the other.
Are the PA security services sending a message of arrest to the Israeli side, and saying to them: We are continuing our work against the resistance, and you can count on us as you have before, and what we want is for you to stop your threats and direct raids? Or is Abbas sending the message in his speech at the UN, or in his meetings on the side-lines with others, where he says: we are working against those who resist Israel with weapons, and we are arresting them. We arrested Shtayyeh and Tabila and we ignored what Israel claimed against us. We believe in peace and armed resistance is prohibited and condemned!
Whether the arrest was intended to send a message to Israel, the international parties, or both, they are messages that were rejected by the people of Nablus, who staged a commercial strike, and were denounced by the national and Islamic resistance factions in Gaza, who demanded the release of Shtayyeh and Tabila. Therefore, there is no value for any messages that contradict Palestinian national feelings and the values of the Palestinian people.
We do not expect the release of the detainees, nor do we expect that the PA will stop persecuting the resistant youth. There also are not any expectations that the PA will back down from the security coordination; instead the PA is increasing such activities to gain the approval of Israel and for more support for its authority inside the cities. I do not think that Nablus's strike or the statements by the factions will change anything, because the PA's security forces work based on Abbas' instruction. These are firm instructions in this regard; they are not embarrassed by them, and they have experience in containing reactions. The arrest is the result of an individual conviction, and it is the result of circumstance and timing in the second degree.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 21 September 2022
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.