Gunmen From Jenin Refugee Camp Target Palestinian Authority

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Gunmen from the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern Israeli-occupied West Bank, targeted the Palestinian Authority (PA) headquarters in the city of Jenin with automatic gunfire for several hours Saturday overnight.

This followed the arrest and brutal beating of Muhammad Zubeidi, the son of Palestinian political prisoner Zacharia Zubeidi.

Zubeidi was one of six Palestinian prisoners who carried out a daring escape from Gilboa Prison in northern Israel last year. They managed to tunnel out of the prison before they were recaptured.

PA security forces have been under pressure from the Israelis to arrest and detain activists from the Jenin camp.

This is because of the various acts of resistance invading Israeli forces have faced when raiding the camp to carry out arrests.

The camp has been a hotbed of militant activists and resistance to the Israeli occupation for decades and was partially raised to the ground in 2002 during the second Palestinian uprising or Intifada after several suicide bombers originated there.

The PA, which administers part of the West Bank, as outlined by the 1993 Oslo Accords, coordinates security with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) but is regarded by most Palestinians as a sub-contractor to the occupation and Israeli apartheid.

The Israelis warned the PA that if they didn’t manage to subdue the camp then the IDF would be forced to carry out a large-scale military operation against not only Jenin camp but also other rebellious refugee camps in the West Bank, including Balata near Nablus.

Due to the PA’s brutal treatment of Palestinian critics and fighters there have been numerous exchanges of fire between the two sides.

The severe beating of Zubeidi’s son Muhammad, the second time in a short period, angered many and the response from Jenin camp was harsh.

Members of the Jenin Governate were forced to intervene following the clashes, promising that they would take the errant security members to task after other family members warned that they would take further military action.

The situation remains tense as many Palestinians believe the PA will continue its brutal treatment of opponents.

As evidence, they point to the death of one of the PA’s fiercest critics, Nizar Binat, who was beaten to death last year. Binat had been arrested during the night at his home in Hebron by PA intelligence operatives.