PA arrests 150 in W. Bank´s largest-ever crackdown (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 07/02/12)
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Several suspects in crackdown on crime, corruption are senior
security officers; IDF calls operation possible turning point for PA.
An ongoing Palestinian Authority crackdown on crime and corruption in
the West Bank, including the arrest of senior security officers, is
being viewed in Israel as a milestone for the PA as it imposes its
rule and authority throughout the territory.
The operation began several weeks ago but in recent days has gained
traction with the arrest of a number of senior Palestinian security
officers, some of whom were trained by the US in Jordan.
The crackdown began in mid-May following a shooting attack against
the governor of Jenin, who died from a subsequent heart attack. The
assault brought to light a longstanding feud between various criminal
gangs, which operate in Jenin and Nablus and their surrounding areas.
A senior IDF officer from the Central Command said the operation was
yielding impressive results and was viewed as a possible “turning
point” for the PA as it tries to impose its authority throughout the
Thus far, over 150 suspects have been arrested in Jenin and Nablus
and are being held in the PA prison in Jericho. The Presidential
Guard, a force loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is leading the
PA security forces spokesman Gen. Adnan Damiri said the operation
would continue in order to dismantle criminal gangs in the West Bank.
He said that security forces had confiscated over 100 weapons.
Many of those arrested are former members of Fatah’s Al- Aksa Martyrs
Brigades as well as a number of rogue officers from the Palestinian
National Security Forces, the PA’s main counter-terrorism arm trained
by the US in Jordan. So far, eight NSF battalions of about 500
officers each have been deployed throughout the West Bank.
“This is important for us for security and it is mostly targeting the
arms trade in the West Bank,” Damiri said.
He added that PA security forces were waiting to receive a new
shipment of arms from Jordan, where some 4,000 Kalashnikov assault
rifles are waiting to be transferred to the West Bank pending Israeli
While the IDF is not actively involved in the operation, it is
closely following developments and has granted the PA approval to
deploy additional forces in Jenin and Nablus to carry out the
arrests. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has also played an
assisting role in locating several Palestinian fugitives who fled
from the Jenin area and returning them to PA hands.
“This is not connected to us and so far we are watching with great
interest at how the situation develops,” the officer said. “The
operation has so far been very successful and is about reinstating
the PA’s rule and authority in Palestinian cities.”
If effective, the operation could be used by the PA as a key argument
in its bid for independence and statehood by demonstrating its
ability to enforce law and order and clamp down on corruption within
government and security ranks.
“We anticipate that the success of this operation will lead to more
operations in the future,” an Israeli defense official said.
One prominent figure caught up in the sweep was Zakaria Zubeidi,
known for his role in the second intifada as a member of Al-Aksa
Martyrs Brigades in Jenin. Once a political power broker in Jenin and
an ally of the PA, Zubeidi’s fall from grace has been dramatic.
Arrested in May, he awaits charges alongside dozens of others in the
Some officials are comparing the ongoing operation to a similar
crackdown the PA led in 2009 against Hamas terrorist infrastructure
in Kalkilya. Six people were killed in that operation, which was
crucial in eliminating Hamas’s presence in the West Bank city. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/02/12)
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