There’s nothing new about stories on lawlessness on the West Bank, but this one from the Jerusalem Post caught my eye. Last week, gunmen opened fire on the home of the governor of Jenin. The governor was not hit by any of the shots, but he died of a massive heart attack shortly after the incident.
In response, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, ordered a massive security operation in the area, not just to find the gunmen who fired at the governor’s home, but also to find other criminals, including murderers and extortionists. As the commander of the area security force put it, his men conducted “a huge manhunt for outlaws and thugs.”
They found plenty of both, arresting dozens of Palestinians in Jenin and surrounding villages. One of those arrested is Zakariya Zubeidi, the commander of the Fatah’s armed militia in the Jenin refugee camp. Zubeidi was once wanted by Israel for his role in terrorist attacks, but was pardoned a few years ago. He then became a member of the PA security force.
The PA security force also arrested two officers who work in the PA’s General Intelligence Service. According to the JPost, many Jenin residents believe that senior Palestinian security officers are closely tied to the gangs that have visited so much violence on the area.
The PA says that the suspects it has rounded up will be brought to justice, but you have to wonder about this. Already, those close to the detainees are staging demonstrations and demanding their release.
It seems likely that the lawlessness will persist. Indeed, it may happen that the next time there is this sort of a manhunt, some of the current suspects and some of the current rounder-uppers will have reversed their roles.