by Asaf Gabor
While The Nablus police force struggles to control radical elements of Fatah, in Gaza, Hamas is trying to deal with incipient elements of ISIS. Who will ultimately emerge in control?
The Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus continues to burn, and the involvement of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the negotiations between leaders of the camp and the Palestinian Authority, has not helped the situation. Masked gunmen armed with M-16 rifles went out from the camp this week, stopped the traffic and blocked Jerusalem Road, in the direction leading to Nablus from Route 60.
The residents of the camps do not see the Palestinian Authority as a legitimate ruling power. Interested actors such as Mohammad Dahlan are taking advantage of the deep sediment of social between the sides. They shower the residents of the camps with money to buy weapons, with the goal of creating pockets of resistance to the Palestinian Authority and encouraging the violent battle that they hope will lead to the end of Abu-Mazen’s rule.
The governor of Nablus, Akram Rajoub, clarified in an interview with the Palestinian media that the PA will not tolerate the return of chaos to the city’s streets, and he vowed to act harshly against those who bear arms illegally. In answer to the question of the interviewer as to what he meant by “harshly”, Rajoub, who served for many years as a person employed by the security apparatus, answered that “we intend to respond with live fire toward anyone who carries weapons illegally”.
Rajoub’s words are a sign of the Palestinian Authority’s great concern: the fear that the events in Nablus signify a loss of control and the return of armed opposition to Abu-Mazen.
Just one day after the words of Rajoub, who is a representative of Abu-Mazen, the IDF carried out a series of arrests in Nablus. The headlines in the Palestinian media, especially those identified with Hamas, spoke of “collaboration between Israel and the PA against the gunmen”. Palestinian bodies noted that the IDF’s action in Nablus and in the Balata Refugee Camp proves that the PA is not in control of the area, and that it needs help from the “army of the occupation”.
The fact that despite the “occupation”, it is Israel that enables a relatively secure life for the Palestinians, compared to the situation of their brothers in the Al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria, or in those of Jordan or Lebanon, is not expressed, of course, in the Palestinian society or media – at least by official bodies.
In a poll that was done by A-Najah University in Nablus, sixty percent of the respondents expressed the wish to end the security cooperation with Israel, and saw it as the main reason for the internal Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas. Forty percent of the respondents noted that they believe that the day is not distant when ISIS operatives will be active in areas where the PA is responsible for security. Seventy Seven percent of them expressed the fear that ISIS’s entry into the area would lead to a severe escalation of security dangers for the Palestinians themselves.
It is Hamas that deals with the seeds of ISIS in Gaza. ISIS proclamations have already been distributed in the city, and explosive devices of organizations identified with it are hidden throughout the Gaza Strip. In Hamas’ Ministry of the Interior in the Strip, they announced this week the detonation of an explosive device near the organization’s security center. A security agent said that the mysterious explosion occurred after the Hamas forces carried out arrests of Salafi activists who were accused of belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) organization, and especially after the arrest of Sheikh Adnan Mayat, senior Salafi member, who identifies with ISIS.
This is, actually, a war involving all sides: the PA is waging an internal war with armed groups in Judea and Samaria; Hamas is waging an internal war against radical Salafi agents in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are waging a war to the death against each other under the heading “Reconciliation Government”.
Source: Makor Rishon, Issue 923, Pg. 3, 17.4.2015
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