Adnan Abu Amer
Middle East Monitor / August 21, 2020
There has been a recent increase in security chaos in the West Bank, the latest of which is the killing of some Fatah field leaders by internal fire, in conjunction with the decline in the security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which may reinforce the hypothesis of increased incidents of security chaos among its leaders and bodies.
In recent weeks, the West Bank has witnessed a proliferation of gun chaos, which has caused a number of deaths, the last of which is the killing of two local Fatah leaders. One of these is the movement’s secretary in Balata camp, Imad Dweikat, and the second is Khalil Al-Sheikh, brother of the minister of civil affairs, a member of the Movement’s Central Committee.
The frequency of these incidents in the West Bank increased fears that the PA is disintegrating, because recent incidents have shown the influence of families, as before the Israeli occupation in 1967, and after the establishment of the PA in 1994.
There have been frequent shootings of Palestinian personalities in the West Bank, including deputies in the Legislative Council, doctors and institution officials, in addition to the proliferation of weapons to resolve personal disputes, the increase in family quarrels, and the emergence of members of the security services involved in this chaos, amid the complete absence of the Israeli army from pursuing weapons.
The recent security tensions in the West Bank could be attributed to a number of factors, the most important of which are the poor economic conditions in the West Bank, poverty and unemployment of its camps’ residents. If the authority does not work fast to control these field movements, the West Bank will slide into an abyss, with influential Palestinian figures being accused of causing their security problems, poisoning internal relations because of their deep disagreements, and their desire to impose their influence on their cities and governorates, amid talks about the day after President Mahmoud Abbas’ absence from the political scene.
Fatah leaders sent messages to Abbas, demanding he intervene to save the West Bank from security chaos, because its people are worried, and fear the effects of the clear disputes among PA officials, which means that influential authorities are ensuring the continuation of chaos.
All of this confirms that the West Bank is experiencing security chaos that is increasing day by day, and there are no indications to eliminate it or alleviate it. However, it may increase if Abbas leaves the political scene without agreed deals with Fatah leaders. This opens the way for warnings of the emergence of security spheres of influence in the West Bank.
Palestinian police reports present new evidence regarding the massive security chaos that has begun to engulf the West Bank, through hundreds of fighting that has resulted in many murders and hundreds of injuries, revealing that the rate of murders and hostilities is higher compared to recent years.
These woeful figures provide increasing indications of the proliferation of “unbanned” weapons among the Palestinian Authority and Israel, which is referred to as the weapon of resistance. Weapons used in family quarrels and revenge are a weapon of chaos, disorder and crime, and have nothing to do with resistance.
This security chaos in the West Bank has urged the national and Islamic forces to call for the containment of these unfortunate incidents in order to resolve related problems, and called for the settlement of the weapons issue, an end to the arms chaos, and the control of the internal situation on the basis of national responsibility, because these accumulated events constitute another strike that weakens the efforts of the PA that is trying to impose its authority in the areas under its control.
Various Palestinian assessments indicate that the problem in the West Bank is complex and that the judicial system has become ineffective, leaving people to seize their rights on their own, in addition to the fact that weapons in West Bank cities are seized by individuals who do not belong to the resistance.
One of the major problems of the Palestinian Authority is dealing with these successive incidents to enforce law without justice, in a conspicuous and selective manner, pursuing whoever it wants and leaving whoever it wants, without deterrent sanctions or an authority that preserves the power of the law and ensures the safety and security of the citizen.
The main cause of the security chaos in the West Bank is the deployment of weapons to all parties except the resistance, with the help of Israel, which knows very well that these weapons will not be used against its interests, but rather will be used in internal disputes, while Israel continues its occupation of Palestinian lands and the PA loses its grip on the territory.
Adnan Abu Amer is a Palestinian academic