Violent arrest in West Bank triggers attack on PA headquarters in Jenin
The violent arrest of three Palestinian teenagers by Palestinian police in the city of Jenin in the West Bank led to an unprecedented attack by a local militia against the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the city.
Why it matters: The incident was another signal of the PA's deteriorating control in the occupied West Bank.
Driving the news: Last Friday, Palestinian police arrested the teens, reportedly for an alleged traffic violation.
- In an incident that was caught on video and went viral on social media, the police beat the teenagers after they appeared to resist arrest.
- One of the teens was the son of Zakaria Zubeidi, the former local commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.
- Zubeidi was arrested in 2019 on terror charges and was one of six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from an Israeli jail last September before being recaptured.
After the teens' arrest, armed members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade attacked Palestinian security forces in Jenin with live fire and explosive devices.
- At the same time, hundreds of Fatah members, some of them armed, rallied in Jenin's refugee camp calling for the release of the three teenagers.
- They were released the next day, and the PA announced it would prosecute the policemen who were involved in the arrest.
The big picture: The events in Jenin were the worst in a series of violent incidents in the West Bank over the last several months.
- In an apparent attempt to regain control, Abbas recently appointed the former head of Palestinian domestic intelligence agency, Ziad Hab al-Reeh, as the interior minister — a post that had been vacant for several years.
- Fatah officials said publicly in recent days that the events in Jenin show the need to deal with the growing economic problems in the occupied West Bank, in particular the widespread youth unemployment.