Police in Israel have an announced the opening of an investigation into the visit by a delegation from the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Neturei Karta movement to Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media have reported. While in the camp, the delegation met with officials of the Islamic Jihad and Fatah movements. Israel has designated Islamic Jihad as a “terrorist” movement.
According to Israel’s Channel 12, the Neturei Karta delegation visited the family home of the Islamic Jihad leader, Bassam Al-Saadi, who is imprisoned by Israel. They also met with the secretary of the Fatah movement in the Jenin area, Ata Abu Emila, and movement official Maher Al-Akhras.
The military correspondent of Israel’s Kan channel, Itay Blumenthal, tweeted that the police opened an investigation after three members of Neturei Karta from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh made an “illegal” visit to Area A.
The 1995 Oslo Accords signed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel divided the West Bank into three areas: “A” subject to full Palestinian control, “B” subject to Palestinian security, civil and administrative control, and “C” subject to Israeli civil, administrative and security control. Israel, of course, basically has full security control over the whole of the occupied West Bank, but often acts by proxy through the Palestinian Authority security services which are obliged by Oslo to collaborate with the occupation forces.
On Tuesday, Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, demanded that the three Neturei Karta members who went to Jenin should be deported to Syria. A photograph was published of the three wearing Palestinian keffiyehs and carrying Palestinian flags during the visit.
Neturei Karta means “guardians of the city” in Aramaic. The Jewish group from the Haredi community is known for its fierce opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel. Its members refer to themselves as “Torah Jews” and often wear badges on their distinctive traditional black coats saying “A Jew, not a Zionist”.