During the nearly two-week operation by the Israeli army throughout the West Bank all major Palestinian cities were invaded, hundreds of Palestinians arrested, and six killed. The stated goal of the operation is to locate those who allegedly kidnapped three Israeli settler youth, however the Israeli government has revealed its secondary purpose is to imprison members of the Hamas Party and punish the Palestinian Authority for signing its unity agreement with Hamas, uniting the West Bank and Gaza for the first time since 2007. Meanwhile, the PA has openly collaborated with the Israeli army in the operation, enraging many Palestinians. That rage led to tensions rising and when the IDF invaded Ramallah on Saturday night, a protest against the Israeli soldiers turned against the PA police station. In panic, the Palestinian policemen opened fire. In retribution, the Al Aqsa brigade kidnapped a PA policeman on Sunday in the Al Amar Refugee Camp near Ramallah, exchanging him for protesters the PA arrested that night. On Monday night, another attack on the PA took place when militants opened fire on a PA security jeep near the Jenin Refugee Camp, according to sources speaking anonymously to The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky.
LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER: Following a week of invasions by the IDF into every major city in the West Bank and the sieging of many villages, the Israeli army arrested over 300 Palestinians. On Saturday, the Israeli army invaded Qalqilya, Nablus, al-Am’ari Camp, Asira al-Qibliya, ‘Arura, Salfit, Azzoun, Izbat al-Tabib, Ramallah, and raided most of the West Bank’s universities, leaving six men dead in various incidents.
Throughout Israel’s operation, whose stated goal is to locate those who kidnapped three settler youth, the Palestinian Authority has maintained contact and cooperation with the Israeli army to the dismay of many Palestinians. This collaboration led to rising tensions, which exploded on Sunday night, when during a night raid in the PA capital of Ramallah, youth from nearby refugee camps took to the streets.
Karam Saleem is a social media activist who documented the events of the night.
KARAM SALEEM, SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVIST: All the people who were in the street, like, really confronting with the army and preventing them from invading and entering houses, they were these young people from the refugee camps, and some of them were from Ramallah also.
When you live in a refugee camp and you have this life, you don’t have infrastructure. The houses are built on the other house wall; like, you have only one wall between each two houses. And the PA is not providing electric, any water, any services. [It’s the owner who are?] responsible for them. So when these people come to Ramallah and see all these, like, fucking PA ministers driving [with all these?] luxury cars and all these people have their fancy life, it’s make no sense for them.
Someone get killed from al-Jalazun few–like, three, four days ago during the invasion. So this guy got shot, and they’re seeing they’re suffering, and the PA is doing nothing, and it’s their job to protect them. So when they went outside that night to stop the army and [to provoke?] the army and they saw that the PA, with all their guns and all their money that they’re getting, doing nothing and just watching their people being killed, basically they attacked the army, and then the army left. And it really pissed them off how they saw all the policemen sitting on the balcony, drinking coffees and smoking cigarette, with all their rifles and all their jeeps. Like, they have–in the central police station they have lots of jeeps outside and, like, riot police buses. So when they saw that, like, they were doing nothing and they were sitting and there are people being killed, that’s why they attacked the police cars at night.
So this is rubber bullets. That’s [what we call?], like, rubber bullets.
TARACHANSKY: So it’s an actual cylinder made entirely out of rubber.
SALEEM: Yeah. And then that that’s what we call steel-coated bullets. And it’s really heavy, right?
TARACHANSKY: So it’s a steel inside and rubber on the outside.
SALEEM: Yeah. And they shoot, actually, 15 of this in each [incompr.] and they don’t control where it’s sent. Like, with this one, they would aim and shoot, but with this one, it’s go randomly.
TARACHANSKY: Human rights activist and photographer Mohammed Othman was at the scene, documenting the Palestinian police opening fire on the crowd.
MOHAMMAD OTHMAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER: There is, like, hundreds of youth are throwing stones and lots, lots, lots of military. I even cannot count how many are they.
TARACHANSKY: Alaa was in the protest when the PA opened fire. A live bullet grazed his skull but left him virtually unharmed.
ALAA DIAB TURKI, PARTICIPANT IN JUNE 21 PROTESTS: I found myself bleeding from my head, so they take me to the ambulance and then they take me to a hospital.
TARACHANSKY: So we saw your x-ray. Can you explain your injury?
TURKI: The bullet just scratch my head and go. Then it’s take four stitches. Yeah. And there’s a little broke in the top of the head, yeah.
TARACHANSKY: The skull.
TARACHANSKY: After one youth was shot in the leg by PA police, he was taken to hospital in a private car. PA security officers then followed him to the hospital, where they took the names of all those who were injured in the protest and proceeded to arrest many throughout Monday.
SALEEM: So it’s 24 that they arrested them today, 11 the first day and 24 today.
They got the list from the hospital, the 30 [13?] people who got injured that night by Israelis. So this list, they will use it as a beginning to start looking for people, ’cause these people, they get shot by the Israeli. That’s mean they were in the place. That’s mean they saw some people. So they [want to get?] them, beat them till they got the names of the other people are there, till they found the people who attacked the police cars.
And it’s not the first time. Before, they had a demo against the PA that they beat people, the riot police, the riot cops, and then they went–they were at the hospital, and they took them. Like, [it was unobvious?]. It’s not, like, something that–attacking police cars; it was just, like, a peaceful demonstration in Ramallah, and they got attacked by the police. And then they [entered?] the hospital and they took them.
TARACHANSKY: That’s how the Israelis work.
SALEEM: It’s–I told you, for me there’s, like, subcontracts, or it’s the same. It’s one system: the PA, the Israeli. They’re working for the Israeli. They’re doing their shitty job, and that’s the only [rule?] that they’re doing.
TARACHANSKY: In retribution, the al-Aqsa Brigade, the militant arm of the Fatah Party associated with imprisoned leader Marwan Barghouti, who many Palestinians see as the legitimate successor to Yasser Arafat instead of Mahmoud Abbas, kidnapped a PA policeman in the al-Am’ari Refugee Camp near Ramallah. They later agreed to release him in exchange for some of those arrested during the protest the night before.
This unprecedented incident was followed by another attack on the PA in the northern West Bank region of Jenin, when al-Aqsa Brigade militants opened fire on a PA jeep on Monday night, according to a source who spoke to The Real News anonymously. While no one was injured in the incident, a message was heard that Palestinians will no longer support the PA’s security coordination with Israel.
UNIDENTIFIED: What happened in Jenin tonight is that the Palestinian security were driving in Jenin and they got some live bullets. There was some shooting against the Palestinian security jeeps, and it’s not clear from where, but for sure it’s from the refugee camp. It’s not the Israelis, because whenever the Israelis drive or invade any city, they inform the Palestinian Authority hours before. So that means it comes from inside. There’s some anger from the people against the Palestinian Authority, because the Palestinian Authority is not providing what they should provide the people, not security, or services, or health system, or telecommunication or education system. There’s no need for the PA. It’s better to be under the occupation, because the PA is like an NGO working for the occupation.
SALEEM: And all these fake dreams about the Palestinian police and the security that we have, because all the time we say the Palestinian police, like, after when the police came, after Second Intifada, they brought, like, security, and now everyone just have a safe life. Now they see that it’s fake. The only safe life that they get, it’s for the Israeli when the PA just protecting them. They’re not protecting Palestinian. Their job is not protecting their people. They’re just subcontractor for the occupier, for the Israeli.
TARACHANSKY: On Monday, the Israeli military prosecutor finally began proceedings against the hundreds of Palestinians arrested throughout the ten-day operation. Today, over 80 Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike out of 200 that are held without trial or charge under Israel’s draconian administrative detention orders. On Monday, the military prosecutors filed an additional 200 orders against those arrested, doubling the number of prisoners on administrative detention. Later in the day, Samer Issawi, a prisoner who survived 226 days on hunger strike and who is seen by many as the symbol of the prisoners’ nonviolent protest, was rearrested by Israeli police. His mother described the rest to admit to the TV in Jerusalem.
MOTHER OF SAMER ISSAWI, PALESTINIAN PRISONER IN ISRAEL (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): They came to our home. They surrounded the house with a large number of soldiers. They entered the hours fast [sic]. I asked them, “What’s going on?” And they said they need to search the house. I told them, “Come in.” The police already sent Samer a summons for investigation today, and yesterady he was to go to the Russian Compound station. We showed the poaper from the police, but they said, “No, we want him [now]” and they took him.
TARACHANSKY: I’m Lia Tarachansky for The Real News in Ramallah.
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