Palestinian governor: Armed Palestinians in Jenin are vigilantes, not ‘resistance’ fighters

Armed Palestinians affiliated with terror groups have been attempting to establish their dominance in different areas in Judea and Samaria, primarily in Jenin. 

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Governor of the Palestinian city of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, stated in an interview aired on Wednesday that armed Palestinians in Jenin are not part of any “resistance movement,” and will be hunted down and prosecuted, Kan News reported Thursday.

The governor referred to armed Palestinians from various factions operating in Jenin as vigilantes who “disrespect the locals,” and promised to “prosecute all of them.”

Rajoub was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and is considered a close associate of his.

His comments reflect a shift in the policy enacted by the Palestinian Authority towards armed Palestinian gangs affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas, which have been gaining power in many parts of Judea and Samaria.

While often directing their terrorist activity against IDF troops and Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the armed factions have been focused on terrorizing Palestinian cities and primarily Jenin in recent months, while regularly confronting the Palestinian Security Service and attempting to establish dominance.

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Jenin, located in northern Samaria, is considered the stronghold of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Judea and Samaria. Hamas reportedly has a strong footing in the area as well.

On Friday, the Palestinian Authority launched an unprecedent military operation in the Jenin area. The operation was originally scheduled to launch a year and a half ago, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Hebrew language media outlet Ynet.

The ongoing violence in Jenin and the apparent weakening of the Palestinian Authority’s governance there have led Abbas to replace the commanders of all Palestinian security forces in Jenin. The decision followed the rather unexpected large turnout at a funeral of a top Hamas official in Jenin a few days earlier.