Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- The security organs of the PA have widened their security campaign north of the West Bank reaching villages under Israeli control, such as Kafr Qalil – south of the city of Nabulus – where the PA is being allowed to operate for the first time. This took place at a time when the Islamic Jihad movement and Hamas are accusing the PA of hunting down, apprehending, and torturing their members in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Fatah is accusing Hamas of escalating its activities against its members in Gaza “in order to abort the dialogue”.
Brigadier General Adnan al-Dumayri, the spokesman of the PA security organs in the West Bank, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The PA is carrying out routine operations. We pursue all outlaws, wanted individuals, and fugitives from justice wherever they may be”. He went on say that the security organs coordinate with the Israelis when they want to operate in areas that are not under their control, such as Kafr Qalil, close to the settlement of Yetsar. Security sources in Nabulus have said that the aim of the campaign is “to arrest wanted fugitives that are involved in various cases and to confiscate illegal vehicles”. As the PA boasts that it has ended the “security lawlessness” in towns under its security control, such as Nabulus, Janin, and Hebron, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement are accusing the PA of working against the resistance and arresting resistance men. Yesterday, the Islamic Jihad launched a violent attack on the commanders of the security organs in the West Bank claiming that the PA continues to pursue and apprehend its elements and cadres in Janin. It issued a statement saying that “the PA’s security organs continue to pursue and arrest the sons of the Islamic Jihad. They launched a campaign against our sons and cadres in the city of Janin and its camps”. The statement added that the Israeli army arrested several members of the movement after interrogating them in the PA’s security centers “and torturing them to provide information on the activities of the resistance”.
The Islamic Jihad denounced the practices of the security organs adding that the campaign is unjustified and “amounts to an aggression on public freedoms to serve the enemy, implement requirements and commitments that are part of the sinful negotiations, and acquiesce to humiliating security and political agreements”. The Islamic Jihad added that it “informed the brothers in the Fatah leadership on several occasions about these arrests. They always were strongly upset at these practices and promised to press for stopping the transgressions of the security organs”. Sheikh Nafidh Azzam, a leading member of the Islamic Jihad, said that his movement is extremely angry at the ongoing arrest and persecution of the movement’s members and cadres as well as the symbols of the resistance. He added that what the PA security organs are doing is unacceptable and totally unjustified. Al-Dumayri commented on the accusations of the Islamic Jihad by saying: “The political level makes decisions regarding the security situation. No one can hide behind the spread fingers of his hand under any excuse to carry out illegal actions or actions that violate the general policy if the PA”.
Adnan al-Dumayri added: “No party can do what it wishes. The PA has one president, one law, and one weapon”. Al-Dumayri said: “Usually those that raise their voices are those that are adversely affected by the establishment of law and order. These have an interest in maintaining a state of chaos and they object making the excuse of terms like a resistance man and so on”. He went on to say: “We should make a distinction between resistance men and contractors”. Al-Dumayri denied the charges that the PA is apprehending members of the resistance, saying “We arrest outlaws”. He stressed that the PA is strict and not lax in issues related to illegal weapons and money laundering or calls for discord, inter fighting and fragmentation of the homeland. These are security issues. We have security prisoners and criminal prisoners”. Hamas accused the PA of arresting more of its members, including 20 members in the city of Qalqilyah alone. As for Fatah it accused Hamas of “escalating its security measures, especially after the quarrel that took place with Deputy Hamid al-Baytawi accusing Hamas of reacting in a “crude” manner that “expresses the mentality of the coup.” Fatah spokesman Fahmi al-Zaarir issued a statement that said “This is a fatal message to the efforts for dialogue and reconciliation sponsored by Egypt in order to abort all the efforts being exerted to bring about national accord”.