PA arrests Islamic Jihad terrorists

The Palestinian Authority arrested Islamic Jihad terrorists as internal political pressure continues to mount.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization on Saturday accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of arresting and “harassing” its members in PA-controlled areas, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports.

Islamic Jihad said in a statement that PA security forces had arrested its members in the Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah and Hebron areas.

The statement alleged that the PA had summoned students and activists affiliated with Islamic Jihad and threatened to imprison them if they partake in political or student activities.

Islamic Jihad also accused PA security forces of targeting Palestinians formerly held in Israeli prisons. “Summoning prisoners after they have been freed from Israeli jails poses a question mark over how serious the PA is about defending Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody,” the statement read.

The PA concedes that arrests were made, but police insist they were targeting criminal activity and not political opponents.

Major-General Adnan Dmeiri, spokesperson for Palestinian security services, told Ma’an that they “never arrest any Palestinian because of affiliation with a political party or due to their political point of view.” All arrests, he said, were due to “criminal activity,” adding that the judiciary system had “the final say in any charges, as according to the Palestinian penal code.”

Dmeiri also suggested that the number of arrests was exaggerated. He accused Hamas and other political factions of “circulating black propaganda to protect their members who are involved in illegal activities.”

Mounting Tensions Inside the PA

Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

PA Head Abbas. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

This round of arrests is the latest in a series of incidents that have destabilized the PA internally.

PA police conducted a broad sweep of Hamas terrorists in the areas under their control in March, which was believed to have been a counter move to the detention of senior Fatah official Mamoon Sweidan by Hamas security forces in Gaza a few days prior to the arrests.

A Hamas official stated at the time that he held PA head Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the arrests.

Tensions between Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions have been running high ever since the establishment of the Palestinian unity government last June. Both sides have made mutual accusations of corruption, graft and treason.