How Journalists Allowed the Palestinian Authority to Fool Them (GateStone Institute) by Khaled Abu Toameh 05/09/12)
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In most cases it is the Palestinian Authority´s security forces that
are responsible for the chaos and corruption. A Western journalist
who wanted to do an investigative report into the case was warned
that she would be putting her life at risk. Gangsters and armed clans
were among the main reasons the Palestinian Authority collapsed in
2007, speeding the rise of Hamas to power.
The Palestinian Authority has been boasting over the past four years
of its success in restoring law and order to the West Bank city of
Journalists from all around the world were invited to Jenin, once
notorious for dispatching suicide bombers to Israel, to report on the
Palestinian government´s successful efforts.
Palestinian leaders and government officials told the journalists how
their security forces have managed to end the state of chaos and
lawlessness that used to prevail in Jenin.
They talked about how Fatah gangsters and thugs who used to roam the
streets, imposing an atmosphere of intimidation and terror on the
population, have vanished.
Most of the gangsters, the Palestinian government officials noted,
had been recruited to various branches of the Western-funded
Palestinian security forces and were indirectly receiving salaries
from American and European taxpayers´ money.
Many Western correspondents rushed to Jenin to cover the story about
the success of the Palestinian Authority in restoring law and order.
One of the most popular stories was the fact that Zakaria Zubeidi,
the former commander of Fatah´s armed militia, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
which was behind dozens of terror attacks against Israel, was now
running a local theater and promoting coexistence and peace.
But while the international, and Israeli, media were breaking
the "good news" about Jenin, the journalists failed to understand
what was really going on in Jenin and its surrounding villages. Some
journalists, in fact, chose to turn a blind eye to the grim reality
on the ground.
The murder of Israeli Arab actor and film producer Julian Mar-Khamis
in Jenin last year should have sounded an alarm bell among the media
representatives. His killers have never been caught, sparking a wave
of unconfirmed reports about the involvement of influential Fatah
gangsters and Palestinian security officers in the case.
A Western journalist who wanted to do an investigative report into
the case was warned by senior Palestinian security officers that she
would be putting her life at risk if she insisted on carrying out
Last week, the truth about the situation in Jenin finally exploded in
the faces of everyone: the local governor died of a fatal heart
attack following an unsuccessful assassination attempt.
For the Palestinian Authority leadership, the assassination attempt
was what lifted the veil: Palestinian leaders in Ramallah realized
that they could no longer continue to hide the truth about what was
really happening in Jenin.
Palestinian security forces have since arrested dozens of
Fatah "outlaws" and police officers for various crimes -- including
murder, extortion, abductions, sexual harassment and armed robberies.
Radi Asideh, the security commander of the Jenin area, admitted that
it was the Palestinian security establishment that was responsible
for the anarchy and lawlessness. "There is a defect inside the
security establishment and officers were responsible for this," he
The biggest mistake, Asideh added, was that the Palestinian
leadership had turned its back to the defect, allowing the situation
to deteriorate at the expense of the people´s security.
Palestinians say that anarchy and lawlessness are to be found also in
other areas in the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority claims
to have imposed law and order. And, they add, in most cases it is the
Palestinian Authority´s security forces that are responsible for the
chaos and corruption.
If the Western journalists and donors continue to ignore the reality
on the ground, the West Bank could soon fall into the hands of
gangsters and armed clans, as has been the case in Jenin -- among the
main reasons the Palestinian Authority collapsed in the Gaza Strip in
2007, speeding the rise of Hamas to power.
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