Palestinian Security Forces Struggle to Contain Militants Amid Inhumane Actions by Israeli Forces
The Palestinian security forces are facing the brunt of Palestinians and militants for the July 3 raid. Increasing rage against the Palestinian Authority’s failure to protect its own now runs deep as an overwhelming resentment.
It’s a reminder of the violent takeover of Gaza from the then Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas government in 2007. Since then the PA has worked hand-in-glove with Israel to suppress the Islamist movement and keep Fatah, a secular nationalist part, in power in the West Bank. Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist militant group, is the biggest rival to Fatah and also a major threat to Israel.
As such, the US government has also been urging the Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government to empower the PA to tackle the militants. In a Thursday meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ron Dermer, Israel’ Strategic Affairs Minister, about the importance of Israel and the Palestinians taking affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions and bolster stability in the West Bank. So far, Israel hasn’t taken any concrete steps.
The Palestinian Police is struggling to regain the trust of people. It has launched a campaign to restore order in the city of Jenin. But law enforcement system in Jenin is on the verge of collapse. Radical Jewish settler attacks and Israeli military raids have increased. Ibrahim Abahre, deputy head of Preventive Security, said the Palestinian police is fooling itself to think its establishing control. “At any point, the Israeli army could enter and everything could explode.”
So far in 2023, about 180 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces across the West Bank and 27 Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks. Majority of those killed were affiliated with militant groups. Regional watchers say this is Palestine’s highest death toll in nearly two decades. A source said there is a line to how many Israelis can be killed, while the Palestinians work out their internal struggles. He highlighted that at some point, the Israeli forces just have to go in.
Jenin governor Kamal Abu al-Rub believes Israel wants to embarrass them. But it has fanned tensions and stoked anger toward the PA and inspired rise in militancy. Jenin’s former governor Maj. Gen Akram Rajoub said the PA has lost power. “But we are trying to control the chaos that erupts when Israel invades. Chaos is what undermines respect for the authority.” Militants believe the PA has evolved into a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation that can barely pay salaries or provide municipal services. PA does everything that is in Israel’s interest. Brig. Gen. Azzam Jebara, the head of police in Jenin, said authorities’ failure to dismantle militant groups is tantamount to the failure of the Palestinian national project. He believes Israeli settlements have killed the Palestinian state.