Hundreds of residents on the Jenin refugee camp marched yesterday in protest at the “political arrests” of resistance activists by the Palestinian Authority security services. The marchers, some of them armed, gathered in response to a call by the Jenin Brigade to fill the streets of the camp.
The brigade is part of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The marchers called for the immediate release of detainees held by the PA, whose security services were on high alert in Ramallah, Hebron, Qalqilya and neighbouring areas during the “anger march” in case of any solidarity action in those cities.
“The security services breached an agreement to release two fighters who were arrested in the city of Tubas during the recent Israeli aggression on Jenin camp,” said the Jenin Brigade. “The security forces continue to arrest resistance fighters, which threatens the national and social fabric.”
A sit-in was organised in the town of Jaba, south of Jenin, as it also witnessed a number of arrests by the Palestinian security forces. The governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, said that the arrests “were made against a group of outlaws who attacked the police station in the town of Jaba, and burned a large part of it, in addition to a police vehicle, taking advantage of the preoccupation with the situation in Jenin and its camp.”
He added that the security forces arrested a number of those involved as well as suspects, without regard to any political motives or organisational affiliations. “Those involved belonged to several organisations, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and the first detainee was from the Fatah movement.” Fatah is the faction which controls the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli military operation on 3 July, during which 12 Palestinians were killed and around 140 others were wounded, destroyed homes, shops and whole streets before troops withdrew. The Jenin Brigade warned at the time of “the situation exploding” and the potential for “unimaginable consequences.” It also revealed that understandings had been reached with the PA security services, before the visit of PA President Mahmoud Abbas to the Jenin camp last week. These included handing over the weapons of the resistance fighters arrested by the PA and their release.
According to the brigade, the PA’s pursuit and arrest of resistance fighters is “a stain that history will not erase.” It asked the PA to explain why fighters are being arrested, and for whose benefit.
“After the battle of Jenin… which was fought… with legendary steadfastness and sacrifices by our people… the PA security services rewarded the fighters by kidnapping and torturing them. The delegation from the PA and Fatah came to us and asked for a visit by President Mahmoud Abbas to give a speech in the camp. We in the Jenin Brigade did not have any objection to this in principle.”.
However, the brigade pointed out that there was on “legitimate demand”: the release of Murad Malaysha and Muhammad Brahma who were arrested by the security services in Tubas. This is the promise that the group claims was broken by the PA security services.