Another ‘establishment’ in trouble: Anarchy, ‘security chaos’ reported in Palestinian camps

by WorldTribune Staff, June 26, 2016

The established order is in trouble not only in the United States and Europe, but also in Palestinian territories.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are on the brink of open revolt amid “security chaos” in refugee camps that are run by “mafia leaders.”

“A quick chat with young Palestinians, including Fatah members, in any refugee camp in the West Bank will reveal a driving sense of betrayal,” a report in Gatestone Institute said.

Qalandia refugee camp.
Qalandia refugee camp.

“They are not afraid of speaking out against President (Mahmoud) Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. In these camps, the PA seems as much the enemy as Israel. They speak of the PA as a corrupt and incompetent body that is managed by mafia leaders.’ Others see the Palestinian Authority as a pawn in the hands of Israel and the U.S. More importantly, many of the camp activists believe that it is only a matter of time before Palestinians launch an intifada against the PA.”

A number of recent violent incidents have spotlighted the Palestinian Authority’s failure to enforce law and order in the camps, particularly the larger West Bank camps such as Balata (near Nablus) Qalandia (near Ramallah) and the Jenin refugee camp.

“The Palestinian Authority is controlled by thieves who do not care about us,” said Hassan Abu Ayyash, a “Fatah activist” from the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah.

“They are getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community and distributing them among themselves and their sons. Look at all the big buildings and fancy restaurants and bars in Ramallah. Where do they get all the money to purchase expensive cars?”

Earlier this week, gunmen believed to be Fatah members stopped the car of Minister for Social Welfare Ibrahim Al Shaer near the Qalandia camp, forced the driver out and stole the car. Palestinians described the carjacking as a severe blow to the PA’s “prestige.”

Last month, masked gunmen from one of the refugee camps stole a Palestinian police car in broad daylight from the center of Ramallah. The stolen car was returned to the police hours later, but no one was arrested as the PA reportedly feared a violent confrontation with the camp’s residents.

In April, a gun battle erupted between PA security officers and members of the Jaradat clan in the refugee camp of Jenin. The clash started during an attempt to arrest a clan member. Two people were wounded.

Internal rivalries among Fatah leaders also plague the camps. In some incidences, the leaders hire gunmen from the camps to “settle scores among themselves.” Earlier this month, gunmen opened fire at the home of Ghassan Shaka’a, the former mayor of Nablus and a senior PLO and Fatah official. No one was hurt in the attack, which was apparently meant to send the ex-mayor a warning message.

Shaka’a said that the “security situation in the (Hamas-controlled) Gaza Strip was better than that in the West Bank.”

Some of Abbas’s top aide say the attacks at the camps are “orchestrated” by ousted Fatah operative Mohamed Dahlan, who is based in the United Arab Emirates. “The aides claim that Dahlan has been funding many Fatah gangs in the West Bank refugee camps, as part of an effort to buy loyalty and establish bases of power for himself,” the Gatestone report said.

“Dahlan, they argue, is eager to succeed President Abbas. Thus he has been working hard to undermine the Palestinian Authority and sow anarchy and dissent in the West Bank. He wants to show that Abbas is losing control and that only a ‘powerful’ figure such as Dahlan would be able to restore law and order. Dahlan, for his part, has strongly denied the allegations.”