Dead on arrival: The US plan to train PA ‘special forces’ in the West Bank

March 15 2023

Despite being in conflict with armed resistance factions in the West Bank, Palestinian Authority forces have also collaborated with them, posing a challenge to those who seek to divide Palestinians.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Robert Inlakesh

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has reportedly agreed to implement a controversial US proposal aimed at restoring its control over northern West Bank areas that are currently dominated by newly formed Palestinian resistance groups. However, the plan, lacking an understanding of the realities on the ground, may have unintended consequences.

During US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel in late January, reports allege that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was pressured to accept a new security plan drafted by US security coordinator Michael Fenzel. According to Israeli and American sources, the proposal involves the formation of a special PA force tasked with combatting armed groups in restive areas like Nablus and Jenin.

The PA is losing control

Since 2021, the formation of new resistance factions, including the Jenin Brigades and Lions’ Den, has challenged the authority of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) on the ground in the West Bank. These armed groups have gained public support and power, making it difficult for the PASF to maintain security control in the latter’s strongholds.

On 31 March, 2022, the Israeli government launched ‘Operation Break the Wave’, which led to frequent Israeli night raids on West Bank villages and communities. Despite the high death tolls among Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel has failed to curb the rising rate of resistance attacks and operations against its soldiers and illegal settlers. In fact, the armed struggle is only growing in size and scope.

In February, CIA director Bill Burns expressed concern that the situation in the West Bank today is beginning to resemble the climate of the Second Intifada of the early-to-mid 2000s. The loss of security control by the PA is a cause for concern for Washington, and the CIA has been working with both the PA and Israel in order to stabilize the situation.

While the PA has not officially commented on the plans for forming a special task force to deal with the armed movements, reports suggest that they have accepted the US’s “Fenzel Plan.” Although not publicly disclosed at the time, an official from the PA’s ruling Fatah party, Abbas Zaki, referenced a private security summit scheduled to take place in Aqaba, Jordan.

At this summit, delegations from Jordan, the US, Egypt, and Israel signed an agreement on implementing the Fenzel Plan and improving security ties between Israel and the PA. The Fatah official told Saudi media outlet Asharq that a recent violent raid on Nablus, resulting in the murder of 11 Palestinians, was “a stab in the back for the mediation efforts to reach calm and sign an agreement of de-escalation.”

The Aqaba meeting was highly controversial given that PA President Abbas had previously ordered an end to his security forces’ collaboration with Israeli military and intelligence, known as “security coordination.” This decision was made in response to the killing of 10 Palestinians in the Jenin Refugee camp in late January.

The decision by the PA to accept US assistance in combating armed resistance groups in the West bank is seen as a betrayal by many Palestinians, who expressed their support for these fighters in recent polls.

In fact, demonstrations condemning the PA’s attendance at the Aqaba security summit took place throughout the West Bank, with the Jenin Brigades armed group even calling a press briefing and urging the public to protest.

Ongoing attempts to contain the armed struggle

A source from within the PA’s Preventative Security Force (PSF) spoke to The Cradle under the condition of anonymity. According to the source, the PASF is already actively pursuing members of the Lions’ Den armed group, and any support from the US would only add to their efforts:

“We are doing our job and following orders to protect them [the Palestinian fighters] from being killed by the Israelis, we know that if the occupation army comes for them they won’t let them live and so it is better for us to capture them alive or to bargain with them to hand over their weapons.”

“There have been cases where our forces pursued fighters but failed to arrest them, and after this, the Israeli military murdered them. Our goal is not to harm them, just to capture them,” the source added.

Another source, who has detailed knowledge of the relationship between the PA’s security forces and the armed groups in both Jenin and Nablus, shed light on the complexities of the situation. According to the source, a significant number of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces’ (PASF) cadres are currently active in the Jenin Brigades, with some of them coming from families of high-ranking PASF members.

The Lions’ Den has reportedly received firearms training from Khaled Tbilah, a second lieutenant in the PA’s security forces, which video evidence appears to corroborate. The same source claimed that Oday al-Azizi, known to the Israeli intelligence as a member of the Lions’ Den, is actually one of the leaders of the group while currently serving as a PASF officer.

Azizi was arrested by the PA, but was allegedly allowed to leave their custody at any time, unlike other detainees held in PA detention, such as Musab Shtayyeh, who is a Hamas party member and is held against his will. This suggests that the PA is administering preferential treatment to Lions’ Den members based on political affiliation.

Azizi, the source claims, is married to a woman from a prominent family that is loyal to President Abbas and is affiliated with a group called the Fatah Tanzeem. The Tanzeem, although also connected to the Fatah Party, holds a completely different outlook than the more active Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which makes up the ranks of a number of the armed groups in the northern West Bank.

Popular resistance challenging the PA

Although multiple sources clarify that the PASF does not directly control the armed groups, it still maintains connections with them. The concern from the PA is that if the resistance factions gain too much power in an area like Nablus, it could spread to other cities like Ramallah.

The military parade in Jenin on 3 March showcased the strength of the resistance with hundreds of fighters present. Surprisingly, Mohammed Jabareen, a PA security force colonel, was seen posing for photos with fighters at the parade.

Additionally, a central and unifying figure who has voiced public support for the armed struggle in Jenin is Fathi Khazem, who held a position with the PA security forces during the Second Intifada. Khazem has urged members of the PASF to fight against the Israeli army – his commands carry an oversized authority that others making similar calls simply do not have.

On the flip side, the formation of a new Palestinian resistance group called the Tulkarem Battalion has led to direct intervention by the PASF in an attempt to stem its growth, which in turn has provoked further anti-PA demonstrations.

This highlights the fact that the PA is employing varying strategies in different areas to deter the rise of armed groups. Geography matters: Nablus city, for instance, is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements that provide constant fodder for clashes, whereas in Jenin, a more isolated area, the groups pose less of an immediate threat.

An informed source from Nablus, who has contacts inside the armed groups, tells The Cradle that there is no real solution in sight for the PA:

“Other than convincing the armed groups to lay down their weapons through bribes of different kinds, there is no way to deal with the groups. Maybe they can try to make the groups look like criminals so that they lose some popular support.”

The Fenzel Plan seeks to train thousands of PASF members in US-owned facilities in Jordan to combat the Palestinian resistance. If implemented in a poorly-informed or ill-calculated manner, the project could lead to massive bloodshed in the West Bank and further inflame popular sentiments against the PA.

‘Peace Bands’ 2.0?

Israel has historically used a variety of local collaborator forces in order to maintain its dominance over the populations it occupies. Preceding Israel’s existence, however, during the 1930’s, the British mandate authorities also employed a strategy of using local collaborator forces in order to suppress the Palestinian resistance bands during the Arab Revolt (1936-9). This strategy is somewhat more relevant to today’s Fenzel Plan.

The Fasa’il al-Salam, or “Peace Bands” were formed with the aid of Britain’s Palestine mandate authorities; receiving arms, funds, and training in order to combat Palestinian militias that were largely under the command of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini.

During the latter stages of the Arab Revolt against British rule in Palestine – and despite having taken control over much of the country from the Palestinian resistance – the British military was unable to secure many of the mountainous and rural areas where the rebel leaders reigned. Like today, Jenin and Nablus were also strongholds for the Palestinian revolt back then.

As one of the many strategies employed by British authorities to crush the revolt, the establishment of pro-British bands did have its successes. In Mathew Hughes’ book Britain’s Pacification of Palestine, he writes:

“While the peace bands would never have grown as they did without British help, they never would have happened in the first place had Palestinians been united.”

During this period, when the strategy of dividing Palestinians to fight each other was employed, the divide between the Nashashibi family faction and those loyal to Hajj Amin al-Husseini was heavily utilized by the British to create its collaborator forces.

While the peace bands of the late 1930s were rooted in Palestinian societal-family structures, those kinds of familial rivalries do not exist for a PASF force to be based on today. The Jenin Brigades are instead rooted in the urban working class and refugee communities that were displaced to West Bank refugee camps during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

The US-envisioned special tactical force PA units will have no roots inside Jenin or the Old City of Nablus, where Palestinian resistance fighters reside. Another advantage that the peace bands had in their formation was positive press; in 1938, Raghib Nashashibi requested a loan from the Jewish Agency to pay newspapers to provide favorable coverage that would gain them adherents. No such media environment exists in the occupied Palestinian territories today.

A crisis within the PA

The issues facing the PA go beyond its lack of control in the northern West Bank. Today, the much-weakened governing body faces a comprehensive crisis on the security, legitimacy, and economic fronts. At 88 years of age, Abbas is amongst the oldest leaders in the world, and many are anticipating his resignation or death in the near future.

Palestinian author and journalist Ramzy Baroud argues that “the Palestinian Authority has suffered a division crisis from the very beginning,” despite Abbas’ ability to somehow keep the PA together:

“Under Abbas, the disunity took on multiple dimensions, unlike under Yasser Arafat, who was able to maintain a nominal level of unity amongst Palestinians,” Baroud explains. He also demonstrates that Abbas widened divisions between the PA and Hamas, the socialist parties, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

“Even worse, he invested into the division of Fatah itself, with the party breaking into three main branches; there is the Marwan Barghouti branch, which is the more revolutionary branch and is more or less consistent with the ideas of Yasser Arafat; then you have the Mohammed Dahlan branch, which is the branch that is more clan-based and is the branch that more or less represented Gaza; there are also a number of sub-branches within the dominant Mahmoud Abbas branch.”

When Mahmoud Abbas’ reign ends, potential successors include Majid Farraj (head of PPS) and Hussein al-Sheikh (secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization).

However, the transition of power will pose an immense challenge given the chaos and indecision facing the PA, and Fatah’s internal divisions could cause further issues. Now, this crisis becomes even more complicated by the massive rise of armed resistance groups and attempts to crack down on them.

Two anonymous sources have claimed that following the late January Israeli army raid on Jenin camp, which killed 10 Palestinians, a high-ranking PASF official intervened to order a halt to any PA pursuit of resistance fighters in the area.

If true, this suggests that there may be more than a few PA officials frustrated with the current approach towards the armed movements and that this issue is one that the PA cannot afford to miscalculate, especially as calls for a Third Intifada intensify.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle

قمة العقبة لا تملك زمام المبادرة

 الإثنين 27 شباط 2023

ناصر قنديل

يدرك الأميركيون خطورة انفجار الوضع الفلسطيني، ويعلمون أن هذا الانفجار يأتي بعد اليأس من جدوى خيار التفاوض والرهان على التسويات. وقد أمضى الفلسطينيون سنوات وعقوداً وهم يمنحون الفرصة تلو الأخرى لخيار التفاوض بلا جدوى. فالأرض الفلسطينية في الضفة الغربية تتقلص كل سنة بنسبة بين 5 و10%، والاستيطان ينمو في الضفة الغربية والقدس بصورة سرطانيّة، وعمليات طرد الفلسطينيين خصوصاً في القدس تسير على قدم وساق، لدرجة لم يعد فيها مكان لمشروع دولة فلسطينية عاصمتها القدس واقعياً في الجغرافيا، حتى لو بقي الطرح متداولاً في الحديث السياسي.

يدرك الأميركيون أيضاً أن هذا اليأس الفلسطيني ليس ناجماً عن عامل فلسطيني مقاوم، بل إن نهوض التيار المقاوم فلسطينياً هو نتيجة لهذا اليأس وليس نتيجة له، لأن قضم الجغرافيا الفلسطينية وتهجير الفلسطينيين يتمان بإرادة إسرائيلية ومشيئة إسرائيلية، بتغطية أميركية. وقد تراجعت مكانة السلطة الفلسطينية تدريجياً في عيون الفلسطينيين، بسبب تنفيذها لما يطلبه منها الأميركيون، بما في ذلك التنسيق الأمني مع الإسرائيليين، وتسليم المقاومين وكشف خططهم وعملياتهم، ولذلك يدرك الأميركيون أن مشكلتهم في القلق من الانفجار ليست ناتجة عن راديكالية فلسطينية في السلطة ولا حتى خارجها، بل هي نتاج مباشر لطبيعة الحكومات الصهيونية وسياساتها الاستيطانية، وإعلانها دولة يهودية وترجمة هذه الهوية في مفهوم العاصمة الأبدية التي تمثلها القدس بمباركة أميركية، ومعنى تفريغها من العرب.

الذي يعرفه الأميركيون أيضاً هو أن هذا المأزق ينمو ويكبر منذ ثلاثة عقود، وأن تبدل حكومات الكيان لم يغيّر في الاتجاه التصاعدي لهذا المأزق، رغم تناوب تشكيلات سياسية إسرائيلية في اليمين واليسار والوسط، لكنهم يدركون أن ما لم يكن ممكناً مع حكومات إسرائيلية مختلفة التوجهات، هو مستحيل مع الحكومة الإسرائيلية الحالية، لأنها أقل الحكومات الإسرائيلية استجابة، واستعداداً للاستجابة في كل ما يتصل بتجميد الاستيطان وعدم المساس بهوية القدس العربية، لأن القوة الرئيسية في هذه الحكومة التي يمثلها المستوطنون والمتطرفون دينياً، تحمل برنامجاً صريحاً فازت على أساسه في الانتخابات يقوم على توسيع الاستيطان وفق قواعد جديدة، وتهجير الفلسطينيين من القدس بوتيرة مختلفة.

قمة العقبة التي عقدت بطلب أميركي ومشاركة مصرية أردنية إسرائيلية فلسطينية، أملاً بصناعة تهدئة تمنع خطر الانفجار، لا تملك زمام المبادرة، طالما أنها عاجزة عن ضبط الأداء الاستيطاني للحكومة الإسرائيلية، وعاجزة عن توفير الحد الأدنى من الحماية للسكان الفلسطينيين في القدس، وزمام المبادرة الموجود أصلاً لدى الفريق الجديد في الحكومة، موجود أيضاً لدى الفريق الفلسطيني الصاعد الذي يمثله عرين الأسود وكمية جنين، وشباب مثل إبراهيم النابلسي، وعلقم خيري، ولذلك لن يجدي الحديث عن تدريب آلاف الشباب الفلسطيني على أيدي خبراء أميركيين وتمويل نشوء ميليشيا فلسطينية تشارك الإسرائيليين حربهم ضد المقاومة، تحت عنوان منع الانفجار، لأنه عاجلاً أو آجلاً سيتفكك هذا الجهاز الجديد، وتبدأ خلايا المقاومة تتشكل داخله، كما حدث مع أمن السلطة الفلسطينية الذي يتولى التنسيق الأمني مع الإسرائيلي. فهؤلاء الفلسطينيون الذين يطلب إليهم خدمة الاحتلال هم أبناء العائلات التي تنزع أرضها وتنسف بيوتها ويجري إذلالهم على حواجز التفتيش.

مشكلة الأميركيين أنهم يريدون الحفاظ على الاحتلال بأبشع أشكال توحشه، ويريدون فلسطينياً قادراً على تخديم مشروعه واعتبار جهاز الخدمة هذا، سلطة وطنية فلسطينية، والفلسطينيون يطلقون على هذا الجهاز تسمية واحدة هي العمالة.

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Number of martyrs in Jenin massacre rises to 10 Palestinians

January 29, 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Palestinian Ministry of Health pronounces dead the Palestinian youth Omar Al-Saadi, who was critically injured during the Jenin massacre.

Palestinian martyr Omar Al-Saadi

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Sunday the martyrdom of Palestinian youth Omar Al-Saadi after he succumbed to the injuries that he sustained last Thursday during the massacre that the Israeli occupation committed at Jenin refugee camp, north of the occupied West Bank.

According to the Ministry, Al-Saadi, 24, was critically injured by Israeli bullets during the Israeli occupation raid on Jenin and was pronounced dead this evening.

Al-Saadi’s death brings up the number of martyrs in the Jenin massacre to 10 Palestinians.

It is noteworthy that following the Jenin massacre, Palestinian presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the Palestinian authorities have officially decided to halt the so-called “security” coordination with “Israel” and contact the UN Security Council.

Following the bloody raid, Israeli occupation police announced on Friday that seven illegal Israeli settlers were killed and at least 10 others were wounded in the aftermath of a shooting that took place in Nabi Yaqub, occupied Al-Quds. And on Saturday, two settlers were seriously injured in a shooting attack in Silwan, occupied Al-Quds.

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Israeli Apartheid Defenders in Canada Attack Green Leader May

December 10, 2022

Canada’s Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May. (Photo: Karen Fox, via Wikimedia Commons)
 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website:

By Yves Engler

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs’ recent attack against Elizabeth May is farcical. Canada’s leading mouthpiece for Israel criticized the Green Party leader for saying she takes her direction from the representative of the Palestinian Authority, which actually serves as the subcontractor for Israel’s occupation. 

At an event marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People May said, “I take my marching orders from the permanent representative of Palestine to Canada.” CIJA clipped this short bit of a much longer speech and tweeted, “particularly at a time when Canadians are increasingly concerned about foreign interference in Canadian politics, no Canadian elected official should get their ‘marching orders’ from a foreign government and its official representatives.” 

While it is interesting that CIJA has acknowledged the PA as a “foreign government” when many fanatic Israeli nationalists condemn the CBC for even saying there is such a place as Palestine, the video has been viewed 220,000 times. Apparently, Zionist Twitter and May’s detractors are smitten with it. 

This is an extreme example of the pot making racist comments at the kettle. In case the apartheid lobbyists forgot, the first three words in CIJA’s name are “Centre for Israel”. CIJA justifies Israel’s apartheid and violence against Palestinians while celebrating Israel’s friends and demonizing its enemies. 

Framing May’s comment as a sign of foreign interference is way beyond silly and headed into fantasyland. Are we to believe the Palestinians, without control over any territory, are even trying to dictate to a member of the G7? 

CIJA’s post is absurd for other reasons. As CIJA knows, May orchestrated a stunningly anti-democratic move to protect Israel from censure. After Green members voted to back boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) measures targeting sectors of the Israeli economy profiting from the occupation of the West Bank, May demanded a special general membership meeting be held to discuss a Palestine policy endorsed prior to the August 2016 convention, at the convention and in a follow-up online poll. She forced the party to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold a special convention four months later to discuss that single resolution. 

Yes, since then, May’s position on Palestinian rights has improved. On November 29 she tweeted, “Today, I stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under conditions worse than apartheid. Alongside my friend, Mona Abuamara, Chief representative of the Palestinian Delegation to Canada, I call for an end to the occupation. Let Palestinians live in peace.” 

Still, May’s hyper-focus on the PA representative is a political weakness. The PA is highly deferential to the apartheid state and there have been major demonstrations in the West Bank calling for the fall of the PA due to its role in repressing the Palestinian liberation struggle. The US/Canada-financed and armed PA acts as a subcontractor of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank and internationally it has undercut Palestinian civil society’s call to boycott Israel. In Canada, the PA has failed to raise its voice against the outrageous sums raised for Israeli-focused registered charities, which include groups that support racist organizations, West Bank settlements and the Israeli military. 

Irrespective of her limitations, May should be applauded for marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. She should also be defended from CIJA’s attacks and the apartheid lobby group should be constantly denounced. 

الأميركيون والضفة المحتلة (1 / 4): الاحتلال في وجه آخر

 2022 الاربعاء 23 تشرين ثاني

عبد الرحمن نصار

سلسلة من الجنرالات الأميركيين، من فئة النجوم الثلاث، استطاعوا أن يصلوا إلى المسؤولين المدنيين والعسكريين في واشنطن ورام الله و”تل أبيب”، فصار لهم دور كبير في ضبط العلاقة بين السلطة و”إسرائيل”، وفهم الواقع الميداني.

الأميركيون والضفة المحتلة (1 / 4): الاحتلال في وجه آخر

سمعنا كلنا تقريباً عن كيث دايتون، لكنه ليس إلّا واحداً من أصل ثمانية حملوا لقب “المنسق الأمني ​​الأميركي لإسرائيل والسلطة الفلسطينية” منذ عام 2005. القصة أعمق كثيراً مما في ظاهر التسمية، إذ إن ثمة احتلالاً، في وجه آخر، في فلسطين، وخصوصاً الضفة والقدس المحتلتين. وجه يحثّنا دوماً على البحث عن القُطَب المخفية. فما هي اليد الأميركية في الضفة، ولماذا هناك خبراء عسكريون من “الناتو” رفقةَ “المنسق”، وماذا يفعلون؟

ورد خبرٌ، في الأول من حزيران/يونيو الماضي، يفيد بأن وزارة الدفاع الأميركية (البنتاغون) تعتزم تخفيض رتبة المنسق الأمني ​​الأميركي لـ”إسرائيل” والسلطة الفلسطينية ، والمقيم بمدينة القدس المحتلة، من رتبة لواء بثلاث نجوم إلى عقيد ، وفق ما نقل موقع الأميركي، عن أربعة مسؤولين أميركيين حاليين وسابقين وآخرين إسرائيليين. تخفيض رتبة هذا المنسق (يتباين عن “المنسق” الإسرائيلي الموكّل من جهة الإدارة المدنية في جيش الاحتلال) واجه اعتراضاً من الخارجية الأميركية وسفيرها في “تل أبيب”، توم نيدز، فسعت الوزارة لمواجهة خطة البنتاغون وطلبت تدخل وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية .

بعد ذلك، انطلق اللوبي اليهودي في مهمته المعتادة: الضغط ثم الضغط، فشرع “معهد واشنطن لسياسة الشرق الأدنى” ومراكز بحثية أخرى في الحديث عن مخاطر هذه الخطوة، والدعوة إلى التراجع عنها. وجاء في موقع صحيفة “تايمز أوف إسرائيل” الإلكترونية (2/8/2022)، تقرير يقول إن هذه الخطوة تواجه اعتراضات مشتركة من الحزبين الجمهوري والديموقراطي، في الكونغرس والسلطة التنفيذية ومجتمع السياسة، بحيث يخشون جميعاً أن تؤدي إلى “تهديد استقرار الضفة وأمن إسرائيل”.

الغريب في الأمر نقطتان: الأولى تصدير مثل هذا النقاش إلى العلن، للمرة الأولى، في هذا المستوى. والثانية مستوى التحذير من نتائج هذه الخطوة، وخصوصاً أن المنسق، في رتبته أياً تكن، وفريق الموظفين، الذي هُدّد أيضاً بتقليصه بعد أن واجه تقليصات سابقة، يُظهر هذين الطرفين كأنهما من يُمسك زمام الأمور، ويحفظ أمن “إسرائيل”، لا جيشها الذي يناهز 170 ألف جندي، ووراءهم 465 ألفاً من الاحتياط، وقرابة ثلاثة ملايين “لائقين بالتجنيد”!

أمّا الذريعة الأميركية “الظاهرية”، فهي خطة رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة الأميركية، الجنرال مارك ميلي، والقاضية بتقليل عدد الجنرالات والأدميرالات، تنفيذاً لقانون “ميزانية تفويض الدفاع الوطني الأميركي لعام 2017” ، الذي أُقرَّ في عهد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، بعد أن ارتأت إدارته أن تكون الحصة الكبيرة من هؤلاء من أفراد الخدمة العاملين في القواعد الخارجية والمناصب المتعددة في أنحاء العالم.

في ذلك الشهر، جرى التلميح، بالتزامن، إلى تخفيض رتبة الملحقين العسكريين الأميركيين في السعودية والإمارات، لكن شمول مثل هذه المناطق الحساسة، وخصوصاً فلسطين المحتلة، يشي بأن القرار الأميركي، ثم تصديره في الإعلام، أمر يتخطى الموازنات. فوراء ذلك أسباب وجيهة بدأت تظهر بوضوح في الأشهر الأخيرة، وملخّصها أن الإسرائيلي لا يستمع إلى التقييمات الأميركية، السياسية والعسكرية والأمنية، بشأن الضفة على وجه التحديد، وهو ما تكرر، وصولاً إلى التحذير الأميركي من اختيار شخصية يمينية متطرفة لوزارة الأمن، لكن هذا لا ينفي حضور عامل التركيز الأميركي على مواجهة الصعود الصيني والمشكلة الروسية في خلفيات هذا القرار.

ثمة جملة من التوصيات الأميركية يتقدّمها تخفيف سلوك “طنجرة الضغط”، الذي تحول من أمر عملياتي ميداني إلى واقع عامّ تعيشه الضفة بصورة عامة، وشماليّها على وجه الخصوص. والثانية مرتبطة بالأولى، وهي بشأن قواعد إطلاق جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي النار على الفلسطينيين. والثالثة – ليست الأخيرة – أن جزءاً كبيراً من الحل يقوم على تقوية السلطة الفلسطينية، على قاعدة “دع الفلسطينيين يحلّوا مشكلاتهم بأنفسهم”، وهي أصلاً المهمة الأساسية للمنسق الأميركي، الذي يشرف على متابعة قطاع الأمن، الأضخم عديداً وتمويلاً، في تركيبة السلطة.

أيضاً، شكّل اغتيال الصحافية شيرين أبو عاقلة إحراجاً للموقف الأميركي، بينما كان المنسق هو الوسيط الذي تسلّم الرصاصة التي قتلتها، بالنيابة عن “إسرائيل”. صحيح أن أبو عاقلة تحمل الجنسية الأميركية، وهذا ما قد يبرر سبب الدخول الأميركي على الخط، لكن كانت هذه القضية من المرات القليلة التي يبرز فيها مكتب التنسيق الأميركي – الدولي، فضلاً عن أن الأمر لن يقف عند حدود التحقيق فقط.

وكانت الخارجية الأميركية قالت، في تموز/يوليو، إن منسق الأمن الأميركي خلص إلى أن “إطلاق النار من مواقع الجيش الإسرائيلي كان مسؤولاً، على الأرجح، عن مقتلها”، لكن “لا يوجد سبب للاعتقاد أن هذا كان متعمَّداً”، قبل أن تنشر الصحافة الأميركية ما ينفي ذلك، وتتّجه العائلة إلى تقديم طلب إجراء تحقيق مستقل إلى مكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي في مقتل مواطنة أميركية، ويحظى بتأييد أكثر من 20 من أعضاء مجلس الشيوخ الديمقراطيين.

مكان لا يملأه إلّا ثلاث نجوم!

يقول باحثون أميركيون وإسرائيليون إن سلسلة من الجنرالات الأميركيين، من فئة النجوم الثلاث، استطاعوا أن يصلوا بحكم أقدميتهم إلى المسؤولين المدنيين والعسكريين في واشنطن ورام الله و”تل أبيب”، فصار لهم دور كبير في ضبط العلاقة بين السلطة و”إسرائيل” من جهة، وفي فهم الواقع، ميدانياً ومجتمعياً، من جهة أخرى، وهذا ما قاد إلى نقطة الاعتراض الثانية على ذلك القرار: التوقيت “غير ملائم” البتة.

يتقابل ما سبق مع مشهد إقليمي يقول إن الجبهة الوحيدة المشتعلة في المنطقة حالياً هي الضفة، فاليمن والعراق ولبنان وسوريا باتت “جبهات خاملة”، أو “قليلة النشاط” (بغض النظر عما يجري الآن داخل إيران)، بينما تراوح غزة بين حالة “الكمون الموقّت” و”النشاط الفجائي”، وهو ما يعطي الضفة (بما يشمل القدس المحتلة) أولوية لدى أصحاب القرار كافةً. لذلك، ثمّة تعبير دائم عن القلق بشأنها، وخصوصاً أن حراكها يأتي بعد مرحلة خمول طويل، وضمن آليات مزدوجة في العمل تصعب السيطرة عليها: تنظيمية وشعبية (فردية).

لهذا، كان تحذير المراكز البحثية من أن أي خطوة شبيهة ستخاطر بـ”تدمير إنجازات كثيرة حققتها البعثة الأميركية (الدولية) في الأعوام الـ18 الماضية… فلا يجب التقليل من الرمزية السلبية لتقليل المهمة”. أصلاً، يرى الإسرائيلي أن السلطة “مقصّرة” في أداء مهمتها الأساسية: “حفظ الأمن”، بينما يسدّ مكتب المنسق هذه الفجوة. هنا تحديداً يذكر تقرير “تايمز أوف إسرائيل” (2/8/2022) مثالاً من عام 2017، حينما أعلنت رام الله تعليق التنسيق الأمني ​​رسمياً، فكان USSC هو “القناة الوحيدة التي يمكن للجانبين التنسيق عبرها ومنع الوضع السيئ من الخروج عن نطاق السيطرة”. في توصيف آخر: باب خلفي للتنسيق.

يذهب الموقع نفسه إلى أبعدَ، عبر القول: “بصراحة، لن يتمتع عقيد أميركي (الرتبة الأدنى) بالمستوى المطلوب من الاحترام، ولن يكون قادراً على التعامل بفعّالية مع قائد عسكري إسرائيلي، مثل رئيس أركان الجيش، ناهيكم بالوزراء المعنيين، أو فلسطيني كالرئيس ورئيس الوزراء ووزير الداخلية وقادة الأمن، إذ لن يكون لدى الضابط الأدنى رتبة الجاذبية على العمل بفعالية في هذا المستوى، أو إظهار دعم واشنطن”، مع أن هناك وجهة نظر تقول إن الفلسطيني الرسميّ سوف يذهب إلى التنسيق، أيّاً يكن مستوى المنسق، ما دام أميركياً، كما أثبتت التجارب المتتابعة خلال الأعوام الماضية.

الحال نفسها تقريباً في واشنطن، حيث سيكون الجنرال ذو النجوم الثلاث، أكثر فعالية في تأمين الدعم، سياسياً ومالياً، وجذب انتباه المسؤولين، ولاسيما وزير الخارجية ومستشار الأمن القومي. وليس أخيراً، فإن هذا الرجل هو المسؤول الأعلى مرتبة بين ممثلي الدول التسع، التي تشكل بعثة USSC: الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وكندا وهولندا وإيطاليا واليونان وتركيا وبولندا وبلغاريا. فالمسؤولون القادمون من كندا وبريطانيا هم برتبة عميد (نجمة واحدة)، والبقية أدنى من ذلك، الأمر الذي يعني أن هذه الخطوة ستُقرأ على أن الأميركيين غسلوا أيديهم من القضية الفلسطينية، فتخفض الدول الأخرى رتب ضباطها، أو تذهب إلى سيناريو مغاير تماماً، فضلاً عن نتائجها على “إسرائيل” والسلطة والدول المطبّعة، القديمة والجديدة.

لم تتأخّر نتيجة الحملة، فمن جرّاء هذا الضغط، أعلن البنتاغون، منتصف آب/أغسطس الماضي، أنه سيُبقي على رتبة المنسق الأميركي في المناطق الفلسطينية والإسرائيلية عقب “نقاش مستفيض” بين المشرعين الديمقراطيين والجمهوريين من مجلسي النواب والشيوخ، ترافق مع رسالة إلى وزير الدفاع الأميركي، لويد أوستن، وقع عليها 32 عضواً في “الشيوخ” من الحزبين في 6/2022. كذلك، فعلت وزارتا الخارجية والأمن الإسرائيليتان ومنظمة اللوبي اليهودي، “آيباك”، و”منتدى السياسة الإسرائيلية”، ومنظمة J Street الأميركية – اليهودية، التي تقول إنها مع “إسرائيل”، لكنها تؤيد إنهاء الاحتلال وقيام دولة فلسطينية.

بين هؤلاء، برز حديث مهم لعضو لجنة القوات المسلحة في مجلس الشيوخ، السيناتور ليندسي غراهام، قال فيه: “نعتقد بقوة أن هذا وقت محفوف بالمخاطر لإسرائيل… عندما يتعلق الأمر بتنسيق الأمن بين السلطة وإسرائيل، فنحن على استعداد لتقديم إعفاءات أو تعديلات على قانون مستقبلاً”، وخصوصاً أن هذا المكتب يُنسَب إليه أنه السبب الأساسي في “الانخفاض الحاد في العنف في الضفة منذ الانتفاضة الثانية (في الفترة) 2000-2005″، وفق غراهام. لكنّ ثمة توصيفاً آخر لما جرى، ألا وهو: “إنهاء الانتفاضة”، الأمر الذي يفتح الباب على الحديث بأريحية عن “احتلال” حقيقي يقرر، أو يوجه، مسار الأحداث، من السياسات العامة، وصولاً إلى فتح حواجز، أو (التوصية بـ) إقفالها.

هكذا، رُبط بين التراجع الأميركي وإجراءات الرئيس جو بايدن الأخرى، التي سبقت زيارته فلسطين المحتلة، في تموز/يوليو الماضي وأيضاً التي تخللتها، وأولها اختيار مسؤول أميركي من أصل فلسطيني ليكون نائب مساعد وزير الخارجية للشؤون الفلسطينية – الإسرائيلية، ومبعوثاً للحوار بصورة أساسية مع السلطة (هادي عمرو)، ثم إعادة المساعدات الأمنية والإنسانية (تمويل “الأونروا”)، وليس أخيراً ضغطه على الإسرائيليين من أجل فتح معبر “الكرامة”، 24 ساعة على مدار الأسبوع، والسماح بإدخال شبكات الجيل الرابع ثم الخامس (4G, 5G)، بينما بقيت إعادة الفتح لمكتب “منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية” في واشنطن مسألة معلّقة. 

في المحصّلة، ومهما تجاهل الإعلام جزءاً كبيراً من التفاصيل والكواليس، فإن القضية الأساسية، أي مكتب المنسق الأميركي في شراكة “الناتو”، وأهميته ودوره، باتت ملفاً مفتوحاً للبحث والاستقصاء، بعد أن طفا على السطح بهذه الطريقة للمرة الأولى.

تأسيس الإدارة الأمنية

مع أن إنشاء السلطة الفلسطينية ربما تكون خطوة دفع إليها الأميركيون أكثر من الإسرائيليين، في مرحلة ما، أو أكثر من مرحلة، فإن الإطار الرسمي للتنسيق الأمني، ودخول واشنطن على هذا الخط بقوة، جاءا في الأيام الأخيرة للانتفاضة الثانية. لماذا في ذلك الوقت تحديداً؟ ظهر لدى الأميركيين أن هناك مشكلة في المعالجة الإسرائيلية للوضع الفلسطيني، ولاسيما بعد أن شنّ رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي آنذاك، أرئيل شارون، عملية عسكرية (“السور الواقي”، 2002) كانت أشبه بحرب، لكنها لم تكن متكافئة إطلاقاً.

هددت تلك العملية، التي كان من نتائجها تدمير مقارّ السلطة، وتفكيك عدد من أجهزة الأمن، وأيضاً قتل الرئيس الراحل ياسر عرفات، بتقويض مشروع السلطة من جذوره (قضايا الحل النهائي)، وهو ما كان يعني أن الضفة ستكون مقبلة، بعد حمّام الدم، على فوضى وعودة إلى عهد الحكم العسكري. صحيح أن الأميركيين أنزلوا محمود عباس بـ”الباراشوت” على مقر المقاطعة، لكن هذا لم يكن كافياً. من هنا، وتحديداً عام 2005، بدأت قصة مكتب منسق الأمن الأميركي لـ”إسرائيل” والأراضي الفلسطينية (USSC)، التابع لمكتب الشؤون الدولية لمكافحة المخدرات وإنفاذ القانون .

أولى الخطوات كانت تدريب بعض القوات التابعة للسلطة، بما في ذلك “الأمن الوطني” (كانت البداية بـ2200 عنصر) و”حرس الرئاسة” (400 عنصر)، لكن الأولوية هي تجهيز عشر كتائب من “الوطني” (5000 جندي) بحلول نهاية عام 2010: تسع كتائب لمحافظات الضفة كافةً، وواحدة للاحتياط، إذ لا توجد كتيبة لمحافظة القدس. لكن العدد تعزز في الإجمال بين عامَي 2008 و2010 في الأجهزة كافةً، بنحو 23 ألفاً على القوات التي كانت آنذاك. بالتوازي، كانت المساعدة الأمنية الأميركية للسلطة تتوسع وتلقى داعمين داخل الأوساط المؤثرة في واشنطن، والحديث هنا عن مرحلة مغايرة عن التسعينيات ومطلع الألفية الثانية. صحيح أن المساعدة الأميركية الأمنية انطلقت منذ اختتام اتفاق أوسلو (1993-1994)، لكنها لم تكن في هذا الحجم وهذا الشكل.

في تلك المرحلة، كانت المساعدة وفق شكلين: الأول علني ويأتي إلى “منظمة التحرير”، ليصل لاحقاً إلى جهاز أمني مدني، هو الشرطة والمقرر عام 1994 أن ينتشر “أولاً” في غزة وأريحا، لكن وقع هناك خلاف أوروبي – أميركي على التمويل ووجهاته. بعد مؤتمر المانحين للشرطة في أوسلو نهاية عام 1993، ساهمت كل من مصر والأردن، المنخرطَين في التسوية مع “إسرائيل”، في تدريب بضعة آلاف من الشرطة الفلسطينية في أراضيهما، بينما أعلنت الولايات المتحدة منح خمسة ملايين دولار للشرطة، مشجّعةً الدول الأخرى على التبرع.

مع ذلك، لم يكن قطاع الأمن في تلك الأعوام في رأس الأولويات بقدر عملية التفاوض، على رغم أن الولايات المتحدة كانت تُجري بعض التدريبات وترسل المعدات، أو تطلب إلى الأردن مثلاً أن يعطي بعض ما صار خارج الخدمة للسلطة. هنا يأتي الحديث عن الوجه الثاني للمساعدة: لقد بقي التواصل بين CIA وجهازي الاستخبارات و”الأمن الوقائي” الفلسطينيين قائماً بقوة، وهو على امتداد لخط تواصل قديم منذ السبعينيات مع “منظمة التحرير” وعرفات تحديداً. 

فبعيداً عن الشرطة و”الأمن الوطني”، كانت هناك مساعدات بـ”أمر رئاسي” وضمن برامج سرية لتوفير عشرات الملايين من الدولارات لـ”زيادة الكفاءة المهنية لأجهزة الأمن الفلسطينية والمساعدة في مكافحة الإرهاب”، وشملت “تدريب الفلسطينيين على تقنيات التحقيق وتنظيم ملفاتهم (ابتُعثت دورات إلى الولايات المتحدة، وجرى هناك تجنيد عدد كبير من العملاء التقطهم الإسرائيليون لاحقاً)، ودعمهم باتصالات لاسلكية وأجهزة أشعة سينية وأجهزة كشف القنابل وأجهزة كمبيوتر ومركبات ومعدات أخرى”.

مع انطلاق الانتفاضة الثانية (عام 2000) وتطوراتها الدراماتيكية، ظهر أن “إسرائيل” دمّرت معظم البنية التحتية الأمنية للسلطة، بما في ذلك مباني الوزارات والأمن، علماً بأن المساعدة الأميركية السرية استمرت طوال الانتفاضة على رغم حجب المساعدات الأمنية الدولية العامة عن السلطة، بسبب اتهامها بمشاركة عناصرها في صد الاجتياحات أو تنفيذ عمليات. وقبيل نهاية الانتفاضة، وتحديداً في 24/3/2004، دعت النرويج إلى اجتماع طارئ للجهات المانحة للشرطة الفلسطينية، أي قبل يومين فقط من أجل مناقشة الانتشار الوشيك للشرطة في الخليل وغزة وأريحا، استناداً إلى تفاهمات بين السلطة و”إسرائيل”. ضم المؤتمر 73 مشاركاً من 21 دولة، بالإضافة إلى الأمم المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي والبنك الدولي، مع وجود أميركي رفيع المستوى.

بناء على ذلك، وفي نتيجة لمشروع “خريطة الطريق” الأميركي في عهد جورج دبليو بوش، كُلّفت وزيرة الخارجية آنذاك، كوندوليزا رايس، الإشرافَ على إنشاء فريق المنسق الأمني، ​بهدف مساعدة رئيس السلطة الجديد، محمود عباس، على إصلاح قطاع الأمن. سريعاً في 3/2005، هبط أول مبعوث لهذه المهمة، هو اللفتنانت جنرال في الجيش، كيب وارد (*) في تل أبيب، ليكون القناة الوحيدة للمساعدة الأمنية الدولية للسلطة. 

بمساعدة خبراء دوليين، تم تشكيل فريق التخطيط الأمني ​​الانتقالي الفلسطيني الدولي (TSPT) في 4/2005 بإشراف مشترك بين وارد ووزير الداخلية الفلسطيني آنذاك، اللواء ناصر يوسف، بحضور اللواء جمال أبو زايد، الذي كان مساعداً لوزير الداخلية. كان دور الأساسي هو التركيز على خطة فك الارتباط الإسرائيلية الأحادية الجانب من غزة، والعمل على تقييم قدرة السلطة على تولي الأمن في غزة والتنسيق مع “إسرائيل”.

أكثر ما كان محرجاً في الاجتماعات تسريب أحد تقارير التقييم في 7/2005، وفيه انتقادات للوزير يوسف، وحديث عن “الفساد وعدم الإصلاح في قطاع الأمن الفلسطيني”، ليسبب ذلك إحراجاً للسلطة، ويُنهي معه الجنرال الأميركي مهمته الأولى.

اللحظة الحاسمة

في انتظار العلاقة الأمنية الفلسطينية – الأميركية لحظةٌ حاسمة جعلت واشنطن تضع السلطة وبضع شخصيات، منها رئيس “الوقائي” في غزة آنذاك، محمد دحلان، في خانة “الفشلة”. فبعد انتهاء/إنهاء الانتفاضة الثانية، وإجراء الانتخابات البلدية والتشريعية وفوز “حماس” بالأغلبية، كان أفق المشكلات الأمنية يتراءى من بعيد. في هذا الوقت، صار اللفتنانت جنرال كيث دايتون هو المنسق الذي استمر عمله أطول من غيره من المنسقين بين عامي 2005 و2010، إذ عمل البقية عامين كأقصى حدّ، لينال بذلك الشهرة الكبرى.

في أعوام الخلاف بين “فتح” و”حماس”، وقبيل خسارة الأولى الحكم في قطاع غزة، عملت واشنطن على تحويل أموال المساعدة مباشرة إلى عباس والأجهزة الأمنية، لا عبر وزارة المالية. وكان نصيب الأسد لحرس الرئيس (قوات الـ17). وفق دايتون، كانت خطوة ضرورية على رغم خطورتها على بنية السلطة من أجل ضمان ألّا تذهب الأموال إلى عناصر أمن متأثرين بحماس. ووفق فلسفته، كان هذا المشروع مقابلاً “لمواصلة حماس تشكيل قواتها الأمنية بدعم كبير من إيران وسوريا”! لكن، بمجرد إعلان الحركة سيطرتها على غزة، ثم إعلان عباس حالة الطوارئ، فُتحت “أبواب الجنة” على أجهزة الأمن، وصار دايتون رجل المرحلة.

شنت السلطة حملتها الشرسة على كوادر “حماس” في الضفة، وتقرر إنشاء برنامج كبير بقيادة دايتون، صار هو الأساس في المساعدة الأمنية الأميركية بين عامي 2007 و2010. والأهداف الظاهرية، التي أعلنها البرنامج، وفق صفحته الرسمية، هي: “المساعدة على إنهاء العنف عبر أجهزة أمنية فلسطينية فعّالة، وتسهيل التنسيق والتعاون في الشؤون الأمنية المشتركة، وتطوير قوة أمنية قادرة وفعالة ومستدامة، والتوسط في إعادة انتشار القوات الفلسطينية في المناطق التي أخلتها قوات الدفاع الإسرائيلية، بما في ذلك مناطق ب”. لكنّ درّة الجوهرة في المشروع، وفق دايتون، كان تغيير العقيدة الأمنية بالتوازي مع تدريب القيادة العليا: “نُحضر ستة وثلاثين رجلاً من جميع الأجهزة الأمنية، يتعلمون معاً كيفية التفكير في مشاكل اليوم، وكيفية العمل المشترك مع احترام المعايير الدولية”.

باختصار، كان المطلوب إلى قوات “الأمن الوطني”، تحديداً، أن تكون “قوة خفيفة التسليح ومجهَّزة على غرار الشرطة لتدعمها في أوقات الحاجة الماسّة”، على أن تعمل في تشكيلات صغيرة، ووفق أسلوب عسكري، وتتحمّل مسؤولية مماثلة لفرق الأسلحة والتكتيكات الخاصة في قوات الشرطة الأميركية. في ذلك الزمن، خرج مصطلح دايتون الشهير: “الفلسطيني الجديد”، حين قال عام 2009: “أقول هذا بتواضع: ما صنعناه هو رجال جدد… عند عودة هؤلاء الرجال الفلسطينيين الجدد، أظهروا الحافز والانضباط والاحتراف، وقد أحدثوا فارقاً كبيراً”. 

مع أن مكتب التنسيق يقرّ بأن السلطة تمتلك الآن “مجموعة مؤسسات أمنية فعالة ومهنية، على نحو متزايد، وقادرة على حماية الفلسطينيين في الضفة وخدمتهم”، لا يزال USSC “يركز على تنسيق الإصلاح المؤسسي، وتسهيل التعاون الأمني​، ووضع الشروط الأمنية لاتفاقية السلام، وتسهيل التنسيق والتواصل بين الوحدات الأمنية الإسرائيلية والفلسطينية”، في مبرّرات لاستمرار عمله بعد أكثر من عقد من التدريب والتطوير. كذلك، يقول المكتب إن الاتصال الروتيني بكلا الجانبين “يضمن آلية تنسيق أمني دائمة لتسهيل التعاون الوثيق”، كما “توفّر الشبكة الحالية، من المتخصّصين الأمنيين في المنطقة، خيارات لتهدئة التوترات في أوقات الأزمات وإيجاد بدائل عن الصراع والعنف”، عبر طاقم متعدد الجنسيات من خبراء أمنيين عسكريين ومدنيين متخصصين بالعمليات والخطط واللوجستيات وسيادة القانون، يقدمون تقاريرهم إلى وزير الخارجية عبر مكتب الشرق الأدنى وآسيا، وإلى رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة.

هذا الفريق عدده نحو 75 (بدأ المكتب بـ45 موظفاً، ويقال إنه تقلّص أخيراً إلى 60)، بينهم 16 من العسكريين الأميركيين يعملون في مكتب أساسي في القدس المحتلة، و20 عسكرياً كندياً و15 بريطانياً في مكتب ثانٍ في رام الله. كما لدى موظفون في السفارة الأميركية في “تل أبيب”، إلى جانب 28 موظفاً مدنياً من شركة أميركية خاصة . في تلك الأعوام (2007-2010)، خصصت الولايات المتحدة نحو 392 مليون دولار للتدريب والتجهيز وبناء البنية التحتية ذات الصلة، على هذا النحو: في الإجمال أكثر من 160 مليوناً للتدريب، ونحو 89 مليوناً لتوفير معدات غير قاتلة، ونحو 99 لتجديد منشآت للسلطة أو بنائها، و22 أخرى لوزارة الداخلية، والتفاصيل يوضحها هذا الجدول:

الإنفاق الأميركي على الأمن الفلسطيني (2007 – 2011)

المعلومات السابقة وردت في تقرير صدر عن “مكتب محاسبة الحكومة” في 12/5/2010، بعنوان “السلطة الفلسطينية: المساعدة الأميركية هي تدريب قوات الأمن وتجهيزها، لكن البرنامج يحتاج إلى قياس التقدم ويواجه قيوداً لوجستية”، وهو واحد من تقارير رقابية أميركية متعددة، بشأن صرف أموال دافعي الضرائب ونتيجتها، خلصت أغلبيتها بعد أعوام إلى نتيجة لافتة تقول: “في حين أن هذه المبادرات سليمة من الناحية الفنية، فإنها أخفقت في تمكين وزارة الداخلية حقاً، فلقد حافظ قادة الأمن (الفلسطينيون) على علاقاتهم المباشرة برئيس الوزراء والرئيس، متجاوزين الوزارة”.

مفترق طريق

يظهر من السلوك الأميركي التركيز، في المراحل كلها، على التدريب وشراء المعدات، وفي المرحلة الأولى على الإنشاءات الأمنية، قبل أن تتوقف الأخيرة لسبب ستوضحه الحلقة الثانية من هذه السلسلة، بينما بقيت الأرقام الصغيرة لسائر البنود. كما كان ملاحَظاً أن عامي 2008 و2009 شهدا موازنتين، الأولى أساسية والثانية تكميلية. ثم في عام 2011 طُلب مبلغ كبير (150 مليون دولار)، لتغيب من بعد ذلك البيانات الرسمية عن الأعوام اللاحقة.

يمكن تفسير هذا الغياب في قراءتين: الأولى أن المساعدات توقفت، لأن مرحلة البناء تمّت، وما يجري بعد ذلك هو إكمال للمسار، ولا يحتاج إلى هذا المقدار من المال، وخصوصاً أن “تل أبيب” اعترضت على أجزاء كثيرة من المشروع، خوفاً من صناعة “أعداء المستقبل”. والثانية تحويل المشروع إلى “سري للغاية” والتركيز أكثر على التعاون مع الأجهزة ذات الفعالية في الداخل والمنطقة، كالاستخبارات و”الوقائي” والاستخبارات العسكرية.

لكن المؤكد أن عام 2018 كان الأسوأ في هذا البرنامج، إذ انخفضت العلاقات وأوقف ترامب برامج التدريب كلياً من دون أن يمنع التمويل الأمني الخاص، وذلك قبل أن يأتي بايدن ويحلحل بعض القضايا. كما يُلاحَظ أن التراجع في البرنامج وعمل مكتب المنسق بدأت ملامحه منذ غاب منظّره، دايتون، وجاء مَن بعده (*) بصفتهم إداريين متخصصين، في مدة محدودة لولاية كل منهم (عامين تقريباً)، على الرغم من أن تتبُّع سِيَرهم الذاتية يُظهر اهتمام الأميركيين بهذا المنصب تحديداً، وتعيين أصحاب الخبرة والأقدمية فيه.

لكن هذه الأموال تحتاج إلى إحاطات دورية وتبريرات تقدمها تقارير إلى الكونغرس، كان آخرها للسنة المالية 2023، وجاء فيه أن “طلب المساعدة الأمنية سيدعم السلطة من أجل بناء مؤسسات أمنية وعدالة جنائية مهنية وفعالة، تحافظ على الاستقرار في الضفة وتدعم القانون، وتساهم مباشرة في الأمن الإقليمي”، وفق تقرير لوزارة الخارجية مقدَّم إلى الكونغرس. وهذا جزء من توضيح أساسي يقدَّم سنوياً، ويشمل معايير المساعدة للسلطة الفلسطينية، ومنها المعايير الموضوعة للمساعدة الأمنية للضفة وغزة، ومدى امتثال الفلسطينيين لهذه المعايير، والخطوات التي تتخذها السلطة لوضع حد للتعذيب أو غيره من ضروب المعاملة المرفوضة للمحتجَزين. 

أيضاً، يتعين على الخارجية أن تقدم تقريراً مرتين سنوياً إلى لجان الاعتمادات، بشأن “المساعدة التي تقدمها الولايات المتحدة من أجل تدريب قوات الأمن الفلسطينية، بما في ذلك وصف مفصَّل للتدريب (وما بعد التدريب) والمناهج الدراسية والمعدات المقدمة والمساعدات”، وحتى المساعدات من مانحين آخرين، مع “وصف للتعديلات، إن وجدت، على الاستراتيجية الأمنية للسلطة”.

مع ذلك، يقول مكتب التنسيق، وفق تقرير صدر عن خدمة أبحاث الكونغرس، إنه بعد أكثر من أربعة أعوام لأفراد “الأمن الوطني” ووحدات حرس الرئاسة (2008-2012)، تحول المكتب إلى “دور استشاري استراتيجي أقل كثافة”، إلى جانب الجهود المستمرة في تمويل الأجهزة الأمنية ومرافق العدالة الجنائية، وتزويدها بالمعدات غير الفتاكة (بما في ذلك المركبات ومعدات الاتصالات)، والتدريب على قضايا تشمل مكافحة الإرهاب، والشرطة المجتمعية، والسيطرة على الحشود، والاستجابة لحالات الطوارئ، والقيادة، وحقوق الإنسان، وأخيراً إصلاح العدالة الجنائية. لكنّ الإشادة كانت بـ”تحسين القانون في مدن الضفة، مثل جنين ونابلس، والتي كانت في السابق بؤراً للنشاط المسلّح والإجرامي، والذي تقوده، إلى حد كبير، فصائل أو عشائر تعمل من مخيمات اللاجئين، عبر رعاية حزم العفو والتعويضات لتوفير حوافز للمقاتلين وأفراد الأمن من الجيل الأكبر سناً، والذين لديهم سجلات طويلة في قتال الإسرائيليين من أجل وقف أنشطتهم أو التقاعد”.

لكن – يضيف التقرير في تحديثه الأخير في 27/10/2022 – إنه منذ عام 2014، استؤنف النشاط المسلح في تلك المناطق وتوسع بالتدريج، الأمر الذي شكّل تحديات لقوات الأمن الفلسطينية و”إسرائيل”. ثم، مع بداية العام الجاري “ازداد التشدد إلى درجة أنه صار مصدر قلق رئيساً للسياسة الأميركية في الساحتين الإسرائيلية والفلسطينية، بينما تعاملت القوات الإسرائيلية وقوات السلطة مع القضية بأساليب متباينة، وهو ما أدى إلى بعض التوترات. وفي هذا السياق، قد يصير دور المكتب تسهيل التنسيق بين إسرائيل والسلطة على نحو أكثر بروزاً، وقد يُعيد المسؤولون والمشرّعون الأميركيون تقييم المساعدات المقدَّمة إلى القطاع الأمني للسلطة”.

بعد هذا الاستعراض المفصَّل، لا بدّ من دراسة وافية لمجمل السلوك الأميركي في الضفة، بعيداً عن السياسة (المفاوضات) والأمن: الاقتصاد وصناعة النخب ودعم المؤسسات، لكن لا بد من التعمق أكثر في الفلسفة من “دعم الأمن أولاً ودائماً”، وما بذلته واشنطن، في هذا الصعيد، من جهود يهدّد الواقع الحالي في الضفة نتائجَها، بل ربما تتحوّل إلى حنظل طبقاً للتشاؤم الإسرائيلي من الاندفاع الأميركي نحو تقوية السلطة، في مقابل رغبة محمومة لدى “تل أبيب” في قضم الضفة وانهيار المنظومة الفلسطينية أو تحويلها إلى خادم أمني واقتصادي فحسب. وهذه التفاصيل هي ما ستبحثه الحلقة المقبلة.

* المنسقون الأميركيون

1.   اللفتنانت جنرال ويليام إ. كيب وارد (1949-)

كان أول منسق أمني أميركي لـ”إسرائيل” والسلطة الفلسطينية، وخدم بهذه الصفة من 3/2005 حتى 12/2005. تحولت مهمته الأساسية من الإشراف على الإصلاح الأمني ​​للسلطة إلى التركيز على التحضير خطة فك الارتباط الإسرائيلية الأحادية الجانب من غزة وبعض مستوطنات الضفة الغربية، في 8/2005.

2.   اللفتنانت جنرال كيث دايتون (1949-)

خدم خمسة أعوام في المنصب بين عامي 2005 و2010. جاء دايتون في 12/2005 قبل شهر واحد فقط من فوز حماس بأغلبية المقاعد في المجلس التشريعي في 1/2006، فتغيرت مهمته، بين عشية وضحاها، من “إصلاح قوات الأمن إلى منع حكومة تقودها حماس من السيطرة عليها”. بعد أن أنهى مهماته، تقاعد دايتون من الجيش الأميركي في 10/2010، وهو الآن مدير “مركز جورج سي مارشال الأوروبي للدراسات الأمنية” في جارمش بارتنكيرشن في ألمانيا.

3.   اللفتنانت جنرال مايكل ر. مولر 

من القوات الجوية للولايات المتحدة، وشغل منصب المنسق عامين، من 10/2010 إلى 10/2012. قبل هذا التعيين، عمل مديراً للاستراتيجيات والخطط والسياسات للمقر الرئيسي القيادة المركزية الأميركية، وسبق أن كان طياراً في عمليات “عاصفة الصحراء” وغيرها. منذ توليه منصب دايتون، ظلّ بعيداً عن الأضواء، وهو ما يُعزى إلى رغبته في تهدئة العلاقات مع السلطة التي كانت مستاءة من سلَفه. بعد أن أنهى مهمته، عيّنه الرئيس في “منصب مهم ومسؤولية” مغايرة.

4.   نائب الأدميرال بول ج. بوشونغ

من سلاح البحرية، وشغل منصب المنسق الأمني ​​ من 10/2012 إلى 12/2014. قبل هذا التعيين، كان قائد منطقة ماريانا البحرية في الولايات المتحدة.

5.   اللفتنانت جنرال فريدريك س. رودشيم

شغل منصب المنسق من 1/2015 إلى 10/2017. قبل هذا التعيين، عمل نائباً لمدير هيئة الأركان المشتركة للجيش الأميركي. بعد إنهاء مهمته، تقاعد من القوات المسلحة، ويعمل في “مركز ويليام جيه بيري لدراسات الدفاع في نصف الكرة الغربي” منذ 2/2018.

6.   اللفتنانت جنرال إريك ب. وينت (وينت)

عمل منسّقاً من 11/2017 إلى 10/2019. قبل هذا التعيين، كان رئيس أركان قيادة الولايات المتحدة في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ. في 11/2019، تولى قيادة العمليات الخاصة في “الناتو”.

7.   اللفتنانت جنرال مارك س. شوارتز

كان المنسق من 10/2019 إلى 11/2021. قبل تعيينه، عمل نائباً لقائد قيادة العمليات الخاصة المشتركة.

8.   اللفتنانت جنرال مايكل ر. فنزل

يشغل هذا المنصب منذ 11/2021. وقبل تعيينه، عمل مساعداً خاصاً لمدير أركان الجيش، وله خبرة عمل في أفغانستان.

Palestine: The Story of the Lions’ Den




The Lions’ Den was relatively unknown outside of Nablus until a few months ago but today they have gained hero-like status across Palestine — for leading a revival of armed resistance against Israeli colonialism. This is their story.

The streets of the Old City of Nablus are quieter than usual.

The typically bustling streets, filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of one of the oldest markets in Palestine, are almost unrecognizable. Most shops and businesses are shuttered; those who are open are noticeably somber, a far cry from the usual animated calls of street vendors advertising their wares to crowds of shoppers passing by.

“This is not common to Nablus,” Abu Ayyad, 72, told Mondoweiss as he sat inside his shop, packaging halkoum sweets — a Nabulsi version of Turkish Delight which he has been making and selling from his shop in the al-Yasmina neighborhood for over 60 years.

Bullet holes riddle the old stone buildings and the rusting iron doors that line the streets. Some of the destruction dates back to the first and second Intifadas. But the newer cars parked along the cobblestone streets, covered in bullet holes and broken glass, remind passersby of the freshness of these wounds.

“What’s happening now in Nablus reminds me of the level of destruction that happened in 2002 when the Israeli forces invaded Nablus,” Sameh Abdo, 52, a resident of the Old City told Mondoweiss as he passed through the narrow alleyways of the al-Yasmina quarter.

“The destruction of the city, the homes, the buildings. We haven’t seen this type of devastation in years,” he said.

Down the road, one man sits outside his shop, piled with old radios, speakers, and other odds and ends. He smokes his cigarette in silence, soaking in the words of the song blasting on one of the newer speakers in his collection. It’s an anthem dedicated to lions.

There are little to no foreigners present, a new reality created by design, not by accident. The presence of anyone or anything unknown to the locals here is considered a potential threat, and understandably so.

Over the past few months the residents of the Old City have grown increasingly wary and suspicious of any foreign presence in their streets. Too many times, undercover Israeli forces entered the city in disguise, after the blood of the young men who have made these streets their home.

Such was the case on Monday, October 25, just after midnight. The streets were quiet, and in the cover of night, Israeli undercover special forces entered the boundaries of the city. Their targets were a group of young men, armed and ready in their hideout in the al-Yasmina quarter of the Old City, but seemingly unaware of the danger that lurked around the corner.

They call themselves the “Lions’ Den”, Areen al-Usud in Arabic. A novel armed resistance group, relatively unknown outside of Nablus until a few months ago, the young fighters have gained hero-like status across Palestine.

In the streets of Nablus’ Old City, however, the lions are more than just mythical heroes. They are the brothers, sons, and friends of the people here. They are people’s neighbors — neighbors who watched them grow up, once kids buying snacks from the shop down the road, and causing a ruckus with the other neighborhood kids.

Now those cubs are lions, and they have taken it upon themselves to do something many believed to be impossible after decades under the boot of the Israeli occupation and its partners in the Palestinian Authority: reviving popular armed resistance.

The origin story 

The emergence of the Lions’ Den into the Palestinian public consciousness can be traced back to the summer, when a stoic, narrow-faced and handsome young man cut through a crowd of thousands of people in the middle of the city of Nablus — his rifle in his right hand, the casket of his friend on his left.

As he marched through the crowd in the funeral procession for his fallen comrades, passersby saluted the young man. In a viral video, one man struggles to grab his hand, still wrapped tightly around his rifle, and kisses it. The young man’s face did not flinch.

The young man was Ibrahim Nabulsi, just 18 years old at the time. Known locally as the “Lion of Nablus,” with a mysterious reputation as a fierce fighter who had managed to evade several arrest and assassination attempts by the Israelis, the young Nabulsi skyrocketed into popular fame and admiration after his showing at the funeral.

At the time, Nabulsi and his comrades were part of a group who called themselves the Nablus Brigades, Katibet Nablus in Arabic, operating out of the Old City. They had been active for months, conducting shooting operations across the northern West Bank.

Modeled after the Jenin Brigades to the north, the group was formed in early 2022, and was comprised primarily of young men formerly aligned with the Saraya Al-Quds (Al Quds Brigades), the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement.

But many of the group’s members and leaders hailed from different political factions. Nabulsi had formerly aligned himself with the Fatah movement; others had origins with Hamas, and even the leftist Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Like the Jenin Brigades, the Nablus Brigades were cross-factional, and while they had money coming in from various sources, they did not officially align themselves with one political party. They were fighting in the name of Palestine, and no one else.

The Israeli government’s first major operation targeting the Nablus Brigades happened in February, when Israeli special forces raided Nablus and ambushed a vehicle, showering it with bullets and extra-judicially assassinating three Palestinian resistance fighters which Israel claimed were wanted.

The three were Ashraf Mubaslat, Adham Mabrouka and Mohammad Dakhil. There was a fourth passenger — some reports said he was injured and arrested by the army, others said he managed to escape. Many speculated him to be Ibrahim al-Nabulsi.

At the time, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (the military wing of Fatah) claimed the three as its members. But they had recently broken off from Fatah, carrying out a number of shooting operations across Nablus in another name. Israeli defense officials were describing them as a “renegade” cell.

Around the same time, Israel’s military apparatus launched Operation Break the Wave, an open-ended massive operation across the occupied West Bank to “thwart terrorism activities,” and growing armed resistance in Jenin and Nablus.

In April, Israeli army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, warned: “Our mission is simple—we need to stop terrorism and to restore safety and a sense of security. We will do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, for however long and wherever needed, until both safety and the sense of security are restored.”

Yet despite the increase of deadly Israeli military raids in Nablus and Jenin, the number of operations and armed resistance activities, whether through organized groups or independently, continued to rise. Rather than break the wave, Operation Break the Wave seemed only to be conjuring a tsunami.

At the end of July, months after Operation Break the Wave began, the Israeli army launched a massive raid on the al-Yasmina neighborhood in the Old City of Nablus. It was the first time since 2002 that the army was conducting a raid in the area, targeting who they said were Palestinians suspected of carrying out a shooting operation targeting Israeli soldiers and settlers as they raided Joseph’s Tomb a month before.

During the raid, resistance fighters fired heavily at Israeli forces, as they barricaded themselves inside the home of Mohammad al-Azizi, who is widely known to be the founder of the Lions’ Den. Israeli forces surrounded the home, bombarding it with explosives and gunfire, overpowering the fighters inside.

After a three-hour shootout, Mohammad al-Azizi, 25, and Aboud Suboh, 28, were killed in the raid, as they reportedly provided cover for their fellow comrades to escape. Israeli media reported that one of the primary targets of the raid, Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, had evaded capture once again.

While both al-Azizi and Suboh were claimed as members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, locally they were known to be some of the earliest members of the Nablus Brigades. It was at their funeral on July 24 that Nabulsi, donning a flak jacket and his rifle, paid tribute to his fallen comrades, further propelling his status as an icon in the city.

Across the West Bank, Palestinians circulated videos and photos of Nabulsi at the funeral. Suddenly, the Lion of Nablus and the group he fought with were becoming household names outside the bounds of their city.

It was only two weeks later that Nabulsi would meet the same fate as his fellow fighters. During a raid on the Old City on August 9, Nabulsi was killed while fighting the Israeli army. Two other members of the brigades who were fighting alongside Nabulsi were killed during the raid: Islam Sbuh, 32, and Hussein Jamal Taha, 16.

In a voice message shared widely on Palestinian social media, purportedly recorded by Nabulsi and sent to his comrades shortly before he was killed, a calm and collected Nabulsi can be heard saying:

“I love you so much. If I am martyred, guys, I love my mother. Take care of the homeland after I’m gone, and my final will to you, on your honor: don’t let go of the rifle — on your honor. I’m surrounded, and I am going towards my martyrdom.”

In his death, the Lion of Nablus was solidified as an icon, and the group he fought with became firmly implanted in the public consciousness. Following the killing of al-Nabulsi, the Den of Lions, now void of its founder and first fighters, began appealing to the public for protection.

Lions’ Den official Telegram account photo (Photo: Telegram account of Areen al-Usud)

Two weeks after the killing of Nabulsi, a new Telegram channel was created alongside a photo of Mohammad al-Azizi and Aboud Suboh holding up their rifles. Overlaid on top of the photograph was a new logo, reminiscent of the symbols used to represent the Fatah and Islamic Jihad armed wings. But this new symbol, showing the Dome of the Rock sitting underneath two crossed rifles, alongside an icon of an armed fighter in the middle of a map of Palestine, did not belong to any of the established political factions.

Plastered across a black banner was the name of the group in Arabic, underneath it a short line of text that read: “The official representative channel of the Lions’ Den.”

Gaining popularity

On September 2, in a memorial for al-Azizi and Suboh, the Lions’ Den made their first official appearance as a group in the Old City, drawing crowds of thousands. A militant from the group, clad in black military gear from head to toe, face covered in a black balaclava and sporting a black bucket hat, stood on the stage facing the throngs of people. Flanked by fighters with upraised weapons on either side, he read out the charter of the Lions’ Den.

“We salute those who have walked in the footsteps of al-Yasser and Yassin and Abu Ali Mustafa and Shikaki,” he said, referring, respectively, to the Fatah founder and late President, Yasser Arafat, the Hamas founder, Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, and the PFLP former Secretary General, Abu Ali Mustafa. “We have come here today, 40 days after the death of the Den’s lions, and in light of the burning revolution of our people in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in Jeningrad [Arafat’s Second Intifada-era stylization of Jenin after Stalingrad]…we have come to tell you that the spark began in the Old City [of Nablus] when our leader Abu Ammar formed the first cells of the revolution in the al-Yasmina neighborhood [during the Second Intifada].”


The charter went on to preach a message of independent resistance, free of the shackles of the old political factions. They vowed to continue to conduct operations across the West Bank targeting Israeli army positions and settlers. They addressed the PA security forces, who have a thorny history with armed groups in the Old City of Nablus, emphasizing that the group’s focus was confronting the Israeli occupation, not the PA.

In the following weeks, the group announced that it had conducted dozens of operations targeting Israeli army and settler positions across the West Bank, primarily in the Nablus area. On October 11, the den claimed responsibility for a shooting operation that left one Israeli soldier dead near the illegal Shave Shomron settlement in the Nablus district.

As the group stepped up their operations, the popularity of the Lions’ Den continued to soar. Over the course of two months, the group amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on platforms like Telegram, with their official channel boasting over 230,000 followers — more than any other Palestinian political faction. On TikTok, montages of the group’s fallen fighters cut together to the tune of the Lions’ Den anthem flooded fan accounts dedicated to the group.

While social media can often feel disconnected from the real world, the popularity of the Lions’ Den online was even more tangible in the streets than it is online.

In the alleyways of the al-Yasmina neighborhood, just one day after the October 25 raid that killed three members of the group, including senior fighter Wadee al-Hawah, young Palestinians from outside the city crowd the alleyways.

Some young folks eagerly ask shopkeepers where the home of the “hero martyr” Wadee al-Hawah is. A man points up to a crumbling facade of an old stone second-floor home. The youth ask if they can go up to the house, but they’re stopped by a group of stoic young men blocking the entrance at the door. So they pull out their phones instead, joining crowds of passersby taking photos of the home where the Lions’ Den leader was killed.

A few steps down the road, a woman salutes to a memorial for the slain fighter Tamer al-Kilani, who was assassinated on October 23 in the same spot where photos of him now lay, adorned with Palestinian flags. Another young mother tells her son to stand in front of the memorial to take a photo.

“Salute him, dear,” she says, as the young boy raises his right hand to his forehead.

Back down the road, outside the old radio repair shop, Jamal Hamou, 57, turns up the speakers blasting the Lions’ Den anthem. When asked what he thought of the group, he beat his fist to his chest, over his heart, a wide grin spreading across his face.


“The Lions’ Den, to the people of the Old City and outside of it, means everything to us,” he said. “These are our sons, our brothers, our boys. They have done something that so many before them tried and failed to do. They represent trustworthiness and honor, and they have made us proud, may God protect them, and bless those who have passed.”

Around the corner from Hamou’s shop, the famous Al-Aqsa Sweets, known across Palestine for its Nablus knafeh, is riddled with bullet holes. Usually packed to the brim with hungry customers, the shop is relatively empty. No one is in the mood for sweets, one of the owners tells Mondoweiss.

“I have worked here since I was five years old. I have lived here my whole life, I was here during the first and second Intifadas,” Basil al-Shantir, whose family owns the shop, told Mondoweiss. “What is happening right now is different. During the intifadas there was much more destruction on a larger scale, but what is happening now is not insignificant,” he said.

“The Lions’ Den is barely a few months old, but they have taken over the public consciousness in a way that is unprecedented.”

Poster at memorial for Wadee al-Hawah, Mashaal Baghdadi, Hamdi Qaim, Ali Antar, and Hamdi Sharaf (Photo: Akram Al-Waara/Mondoweiss)

Israel threatened

A few kilometers outside of the Old City, the day after the deadly raid on the Old City, thousands of Palestinians gathered at the memorial for the “moons of Nablus,” the five Palestinians who were killed.

It was a typical scene for a martyr’s memorial, held for three days after someone is killed by the occupation. Posters of Wadee al-Hawah, Mashaal Baghdadi, Hamdi Qaim, Ali Antar, and Hamdi Sharaf lined the entrance and walls of the local community center where the wake was being held. Family members of the deceased lined up at the door, greeting mourners who had come to pay their respects.

But this memorial was different in one small, but distinguishable regard. It was largely devoid of any symbols marking the political affiliation of the martyrs, a typical feature at the funerals of Palestinian martyrs.

Inside, Mazen Dunbuk, 40, a spokesperson for the Fatah movement in Nablus’ Old City, sat down for lunch, customarily served in honor of the martyrs.

“Young people are thirsty for resistance, for armed resistance, and for a change of the status quo of the past 20 years. And this is what Israel is scared of.”

Mazen Dunbuk

“The funeral of the five martyrs was one of the biggest seen in Palestine in years,” he said. “This is a sign to the [Israeli] occupation, and to the Palestinian leaders, that the public support for these young men is huge,” Dunbuk told Mondoweiss.

Aware of the reputation his political party holds, as the majority part of the increasingly unpopular PA government, Dunbuk said matter-of-factly: “We know that people are tired of the different political factions, they want a united resistance. Nothing is more evident of that than the popularity of the Lions’ Den,” he said.

“Young people are thirsty for resistance, for armed resistance, and for a change of the status quo of the past 20 years,” he said. “And this is what Israel is scared of.”

The threat that the group poses to Israel was evident in the military apparatus’ focus on destroying the group at all costs. In the wake of the October 11 operation that killed one Israeli soldier, the army enforced a more than two-week closure of the entire Nablus district, affecting the lives of more than 400,000 Palestinians.

In the span of just a few days in the last week of October, the army conducted several raids and operations targeting members of the Lions’ Den and their areas of operation. In addition to the targeted assassinations of Tamer al-Kilani and Wadee al-Hawah, several members of the group or those affiliated with them were arrested, including the brother of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi.

The return of Israel’s use of targeted assassinations against resistance members evoked more memories of the first and second intifada, indicating to locals that the army was ramping up its operations to quash the group.

But while the army has snuffed out the lives of several of the Lions’ Den’s leaders and senior members, what it has so far failed to do is squash the influence that the group has wielded over Palestinians, primarily young people, across the West Bank who have been inspired by their messages of independent resistance, unaffiliated with the political parties of yesterday.

And for Israel, that is where the group’s most dangerous aspect lies.

In terms of actual casualties, the Lions’ Den itself has not claimed a significant number of deaths or injuries of Israeli settlers or soldiers. Most of its operations targeting Israeli positions across the West Bank have resulted in some injuries, though not always.

Yet the group’s influence has inspired more “lone-wolf” operations across the West Bank that have proved destructive for Israel. In the nine days since the Israeli military assault on Nablus that killed al-Hawah, at least six operations were carried out across the West Bank by individual Palestinians not officially affiliated with the Lions’ Den or other armed groups.

In the operations, which targeted both settlers and Israeli military positions, several soldiers were wounded, and even one settler was killed. And most notably, Udai al-Tamimi, a young man from Shu’fat refugee camp, killed an Israeli soldier stationed at the Shu’fat military checkpoint in a drive-by lone wolf shooting, and the massive manhunt that ensued lasted for ten days and put the entire camp under siege, before Tamimi himself came out of hiding and attacked and injured Israeli guards stationed outside the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim — notably far away from where the manhunt’s efforts were focused — before he was shot and killed by the guards.

Separate from the armed operations seemingly inspired by the group, the Lions’ Den has forgone the traditional model of hosting dressed-up press conferences or issuing curated public statements that are filtered through standard media outlets and rendered into soundbites, carving out instead a mode of communication with the broader Palestinian community, using public platforms like Telegram to speak directly to Palestinians, always signing off “your brothers in the Lions’ Den.”

On October 16, almost a week after Israel closed off the city of Nablus, the Lions’ Den appealed to Palestinians for a night of disruption, inviting people from across the West Bank to shout from their rooftops and make noise in the streets in response to reports in the Israeli media about army promises to “finish off” the armed group “from the root.”

“To all citizens, to our fathers, mothers, siblings, and children,” the statement read. “Come out tonight on the rooftops at exactly 12:30 a.m. Let us hear your cheers of Allahu Akbar [God is Great]. We want the last sound we hear to be your voices,” the group wrote.

And Palestinians responded to the call: from Nablus, and extending to Ramallah, Tulkarem, Hebron, and Jerusalem.

On October 12, one day before leaders of rival Palestinian factions met in Algiers for reconciliation talks and promises of presidential and parliamentary elections — which have failed to materialize for over a decade — the Lions’ Den called on all Palestinians to strike in solidarity with the then-besieged Shu’fat Refugee Camp. Despite the fact that no official factions, which usually declare strikes, were involved, Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank remarkably heeded the call, and observed a strike that day.

On the same day, the Lions’ Den released a statement, reaffirming that the group did not belong to any political party, and had “turned its back on all disputes and rivalries.


“The fact that they are independent is drawing more youth in, and Israel knows that the danger of the group lies in their political independence,” Basel al-Shantir told Mondoweiss outside his knafeh shop in the Old City. “Because when you do not belong to an official party, you cannot be pressured or blackmailed into bad deals and watered-down agreements.”

Back at the memorial for the five martyrs killed on the 25th, a young man sits solemnly in the corner of a quiet room. He identifies himself as a member of the Lions’ Den.

“Wadee and the others have done something, they’ve created something that the Palestinian political factions have been unsuccessful in doing for decades,” the young man, who requested anonymity, told Mondoweiss.

“They brought people together, to create one united resistance, without political factions,” the young man continued. “Entire nations have tried to do this and failed.”

When asked why he and other young men were inspired to take up arms, he said: “we are under occupation, and this occupation is killing us everyday. Wadee and the others woke up every day to news of more martyrs, more settler attacks, and more of our homeland being stolen.”

“When we fight we are demanding our dignity, something our own government has failed to do for 30 years.”

The role of the PA 

On the night of October 26, shortly after the first day of the memorial for the five martyrs in Nablus came to a close, news broke that four members of the Lions’ Den had turned themselves over the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF).

One of the men, Mahmoud al-Bana, a top commander in the Lions’ Den who was injured in the raid the night before, wrote a statement on Facebook, addressing the Palestinian people about his decision to hand himself into the PA.

“My comrades were martyred by my side, and I was wounded with them several times, and my martyrdom was declared more than once,” al-Bana wrote. “By God’s power and kindness, I am alive today.”

“Today, after consulting with my brothers in the struggle, myself and my comrades-in-arms, it was agreed with our brothers in the [Palestinian] security services to surrender ourselves in order to protect us from this brutal occupier,” he said.

As controversy erupted across Palestinian social media over the fighters’ decision to turn themselves in, the Lions’ Den released an official statement, saying that “whoever surrenders himself, this is their decision and choice.”

In another statement the next day, the group said that those who believed the Lions’ Den was disbanding were “living under an illusion.”

But the impact of the fighters’ decisions to hand themselves over to the PA could not be denied, as the streets and the internet buzzed with talk of the future of the Lions’ Den. Would the group survive the next inevitable Israeli attack? Or would there even be a Lions’ Den to fight by that point?

One certainty remained clear: the Israeli government were not the only ones that wanted the Lions’ Den off the streets, and out of the Palestinian public consciousness for good.

In late September, as the Lions’ Den continued to gain popularity in the West Bank and steadily upped their operations, PA security forces raided the city of Nablus in order to arrest two Lions’ Den fighters who were wanted by Israel, Musaab Shtayyeh, 30, and Ameed Tbeileh, 21.

One Palestinian, 55-year-old Firas Yaish, was killed, while several others were injured. The raid sparked fierce confrontations and widespread backlash, as Palestinians criticized the PA’s ongoing security coordination with Israel, and what they viewed as their own government’s attempts to quash Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.

“For us it’s the battleground, and for them the diplomacy,” a young 20-year-old fighter told Mondoweiss on the evening of September 20, as PA forces clashed with local youth in the city the day after the arrest of Shtayyeh and Tbeileh.

After the September 19 raid and the subsequent public backlash, the PA stayed relatively silent on the subject of the Lions’ Den, opting instead for a policy of quiet neutralization, working behind the scenes to offer fighters of the Lions’ Den amnesty in the ranks of the PASF in exchange for putting down their weapons, and agreeing to serve time in PA prisons.

Similar to the deals struck with former fighters with the armed wing of Fatah after the Second Intifada, the PA was offering these young men safety — safety from the inevitable: imprisonment, or more likely, death, at the hands of the Israelis. And as the Israeli military upped its attacks on the group through targeted assassinations and large-scale raids, the PA’s proposition became even more appealing.

On October 31, a week after al-Bana and three others handed themselves over to the PA, another senior fighter in the Lions’ Den, Mohammad Tabanja, reportedly followed suit. A source within the PA told Mondoweiss that at least a dozen members of the Lions’ Den had already turned themselves over to the PASF. Mondoweiss could not independently confirm that number.

Three days later, in the heart of the Old City, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh held a press conference, surrounded by dozens of journalists and foreign diplomats — a sight the Old City had not witnessed in months.

Shtayyeh’s statements largely addressed Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory, criticizing the “collective punishment” policies imposed on the Palestinian people. While Shtayyeh made no mention of the Lions’ Den or of armed resistance, a second message was clear from his appearance in the Old City: the PA had restored “order” and control to the city, at least on the surface.


As the future of the Lions’ Den hangs in the balance, so does the trajectory of the current Palestinian mobilization. The current moment is defined largely by such groups and the influence they wield, inspiring others to take up arms against the occupation. So it is without a doubt that the future of the group will affect the outcome of the current moment, as well as whether the wave of armed resistance we are witnessing will continue to swell, or slowly subside and fade into the distance.

On November 1, the same day the most right-wing, extremist government in Israeli history was elected into power, the Lions’ Den released their most recent statement.

“The most important thing is to you, and everyone who believes that our fire has subsided: a volcano is brewing.

For those who call for peace, look at their elections and you will see their choices.

As for the resistance fighters from the Lions’ Den, or from the blessed factions, or our lone wolves — strike them everywhere. What kind of life is this, that we live in peace with those who abuse our blood and the blood of our children, men, and sisters?

Your brothers, the Lions’ Den.”

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss.

Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss.

انشقاقات في «الأسود»: القيادة العميقة لا تزال بخير

 السبت 29 تشرين الأول 2022


 يوسف فارس

سرّبت السلطة أخباراً ادّعت فيها أنها تَوافقت مع قيادة «الأسود» على تسليم البنا نفسه (أ ف ب)

أثار إقدام القيادي في «عرين الأسود»، محمود البنا، على تسليم نفسه لأجهزة السلطة الفلسطينية جدلاً واضطراباً في الشارع الفلسطيني، اضطرّا المجموعة التي استُشهد للتوّ قائدها، وديع الحَوح، إلى إصدار بيان توضيحي تبرّأت فيه من خطوة البنا وأكدت أنها «بألف خير». وإذ لا تُنكر مصادر من داخل المجموعة تأثير تلك الخطوة على «الأسود»، فهي تؤكّد أن ثمّة «قيادة عميقة» للحالة الناشئة في نابلس، لم تصل إليها يد العدو أو السلطة، فيما تأتي محاولة فلسطينيَّين اثنَين تنفيذ عملية فدائية عند حاجز حوارة أمس، لتُثبت أن الرابط في ما بين «العرين» والفعل المقاوم في الضفة، أكبر، إلى الآن، من أن تتمكّن إسرائيل من اجتثاثه

تسير مجموعة «عرين الأسود» على حدّ السكّين. بعد استشهاد قائدها وديع الحَوح وأربعة من رفاقه، تلقّت المجموعة، التي تتّخذ من البلدة القديمة في نابلس معقلاً لها، ضربة معنوية، تَمثّلت في قيام أحد أكبر قادتها، محمود البنا، ومعه أربعة من المقاتلين، بتسليم أنفسهم ليل الأربعاء – الخميس، إلى الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية، بذريعة تأمينهم من عملية اغتيال إسرائيلية متوقّعة. وقالت ليلى، شقيقة البنا، في منشور عبر صفحتها في «فيسبوك»، إن «عائلة محمود ووالدته وشقيقاته بذلوا جهوداً كبيرة لإقناعه بتسليم نفسه وترك السلاح، وخصوصاً أنه الأخ الوحيد المتبقّي لديهم، بعد مقتل شقيقه محمد في أحد سجون جهاز الاستخبارات في رام الله». وأضافت ليلى: «الحمد لله إنو رح يضلّلنا سند، نشكر ربنا إنو اقتنع، ونشكر كلّ واحد ساهم في إقناعه».

على أن خروج البنا من الصفّ القيادي لـ«العرين»، والذي عدّه مقرّبون من الجماعة «ضربة لا تقلّ ألماً عن استشهاد الحَوح»، عملت السلطة على استغلاله وتوظيفه منذ اللحظة الأولى. إذ سرّبت عبر منصّات ومواقع إلكترونية مقرّبة منها أخباراً ادّعت فيها أنها تَوافقت مع قيادة «الأسود» على تسليم البنا نفسه، لحمايته من التصفية. كما نشرت عدّة بيانات باسم مجموعات «كتائب شهداء الأقصى» في نابلس، حاولت فيها غسل يد الأجهزة الأمنية من الدور الذي تمارسه لتقويض الحالة التي تمثّلها «العرين»، حينما ذكرت أن «تسليم البنا ورفاقه أنفسهم، هو خطوة تكتيكية للمحافظة على استدامة العمل». كلّ تلك الفوضى استدعت توضيحاً من «الأسود»، التي نشرت، لاحقاً، بياناً أعلنت فيها أنها لم تخوّل أيّ طرف من الأطراف تسليم أيٍّ من مقاتليها، وأن «مَن يقوم بتسليم نفسه، هذا قراره وخياره ولا نناقشه به حتى»، داعيةً المواطنين إلى «التوقّف عن تداول الإشاعات، وعدم الإساءة إلى أيّ مقاتل سلّم نفسه». وأكدت أن «العرين بألف خير وفضل من الله، ونقول إن كان أبو صالح وعبود وإبراهيم والوديع والمبسلط وأدهم والدخيل قد مضوا، فإن المنتظرين الصادقين كثر».

لا يقلّل مصدر مقرّب من المجموعة من تأثير ما أقدم عليه القيادي محمود البنا

من جهته، قال البنا، في منشور عبر صفحته في «فيسبوك»، إنه سلّم نفسه لـ«إخواننا» في الأجهزة الأمنية، «بعد مشاورتي لإخواني في النضال أنا ورفاق دربي»، حتى «يحمونا من هذا المحتلّ الغاشم الذي حاول تنفيذ إبادة جماعية لنا في آخر عملية اغتيال»، مضيفاً: «نحن لم نُسلّم لننتهي، إنما للحق جولات». إلّا أن الصدمة التي أحدثتْها خطوة البنا ورفاقه، استدعت تصريحات من العديد من الشخصيات ذات الحضور الرمزي، في محاولة لرفع المعنويات وجبْر الكسر، ولا سيما أن الصحافة الإسرائيلية أطلقت موجة احتفاء بما سمّته «القضاء على ظاهرة العرين». إذ قال موقع «إنتلي نيوز» العبري: «عرين الأسود على وشْك الزوال من الوجود. هذه ضربة معنوية شديدة للجمهور الفلسطيني الذي علّق آماله على التنظيم»، فيما ردّت والدة الشهيد إبراهيم النابلسي على ذلك بالقول: «أُطمئِنكم أن العرين حيّ وقوي وثابت، وأُسوده أبطال كما تعرفونهم على الدوام، ولا يتراجعون للحظة، فقطار الحرية انطلق ولن يتوقّف». وفي ما بدا كمكافأة لمحافظ نابلس، بوصْفه «عرّاب الإنجاز»، أعلن الاحتلال، أوّل من أمس، فكّ الحصار بشكل جزئي عن المدينة.
لا يقلّل مصدر مقرّب من «عرين الأسود» من تأثير ما أقدم عليه القيادي البنا، ولا سيما أن الأخير كان المرشّح الأبرز لملء الفراغ التي تركه الشهيد الحَوح، غير أنه ينبّه إلى أن «الصورة لم تتّضح بعد، هناك تفاصيل ليس من الجيّد الحديث فيها على الصعيد الأمني». ويؤكد عامر محمد (اسم مستعار)، وهو أحد مقاتلي «العرين»، بدوره، في حديثه إلى «الأخبار»، أنه على رغم الضربات التي تلقّتها المجموعة خلال الأيام الأخيرة، إلّا أن «ثمّة قيادة عميقة للحالة، لم تصل إليها يد الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية، ولم تستطع إسرائيل ضربها»، مضيفاً إن «تلك القيادة هي مَن تتولّى حالياً تسيير شؤون الأسود». ويبيّن أن «قيادة الظلّ كانت تعمل مِن خارج دائرة الميدان، لذا فهي التي تنظّم اليوم عمل المقاتلين، وإذا كانت روح المقاومة لدينا حاضرة، وهناك قيادة تدير الموقف، فلن يضرّنا شيء».

وفي الاتّجاه نفسه، يرى الباحث السياسي مجد ضرغام أن «الضربات التي تلقّتها العرين ستؤثّر بلا شكّ على اندفاع هذه الجماعة وديناميكيتها»، غير أنها «ستُكسبها مزيداً من الهدوء، وضبط الخطاب الإعلامي، والتعاطي مع الأزمات (…)»، بحسبه. ويرى ضرغام، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن «السلطة وإسرائيل لم تُحسنا فهم الحضور الوجداني للعرين ومقاتليها في الشارع، لذا، فإن خطواتهما الميدانية قاصرة عن القضاء على الظاهرة جذرياً»، لافتاً إلى أن «هناك جنديَّين في جهاز الدفاع المدني حاولا تنفيذ عملية عند حاجز حوارة القريب من نابلس يوم أمس، ما أدّى إلى استشهادهما. بالتأكيد، هما ليسا من العناصر المنضوية في تشكيل العرين، لكن الرابط بين قرارهما القيام بالفعل المقاوم، والعرين، هو الذي لا تستطيع إسرائيل ولا السلطة تقويضه».

مقالات ذات صلة

The Lion’s Den: New West Bank resistance strikes fear in Israel

A newly established Palestinian resistance faction has emerged in Nablus and is re-writing the rules of engagement against the Israeli occupation

October 18 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Yousef Fares

On 11 October, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier near the illegal Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron, west of the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. On the same day, masked men opened fire on four other Israeli targets on the outskirts of the city.

A total of five operations were carried out in one day, reportedly by the recently established resistance faction called the Lion’s Den (Areen Al-Osood) who claimed responsibility for them.

On Sunday, an unusual top level security meeting was held in Israel, on the eve of a national festival, which included Prime Minister Yair Lapid, alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, National Security Council Chairman Eyal Hulata, Mossad Chief David Barnea, Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, and Military Intelligence Chief Aharon Haliva, according to Israeli media reports.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new West Bank resistance phenomenon, the Lion’s Den, which Haaretz calls a “major headache” for the Israeli state. Earlier that day, Israel’s Defense Ministry denied entry permits for 164 Palestinian family members allegedly related to the Lions’ Den.

Who are the Lion’s Den?

What do we know so far about the Lion’s Den, a West Bank resistance group that Defense Minister Gantz admits poses a challenge to Israeli security, demanding repeatedly that the Palestinian Authority (PA) limit its expansion?

The first nucleus of this group was formed last February in Nablus, when Israeli security forces assassinated Muhammad al-Dakhil, Ashraf Mubaslat and Adham Mabrouka, all members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military arm of the Fatah movement.

The three were friends with Jamil al-Amouri, a leader in the Al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and founder of the Jenin Brigades, who was assassinated by Israeli forces in early June 2021.

In retaliation, the trio, along with Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, were involved in a string of shooting operations at occupation army checkpoints in the city. The lack of support from Fatah to which they belong, prompted them to seek assistance from other factions, most notably Hamas and PIJ, who provided them with material and logistical support.

After the assassination of Nabulsi on 9 August, 2022, he and the others became national icons for the Palestinian public, joining the extensive list of celebrated martyrs from Nablus. Political researcher Majd Dargham told The Cradle that “Nablus has a special status in relation to the Palestinian Authority and Fatah movement, which does not allow any other organization to be active in it.”

As the Nablus Brigade of the Al-Quds Brigades did not have much chance of success, there was a need to form new non-partisan groups, consisting mostly of Fatah fighters. This is how the Lion’s Den was born, and how within a short period it has transformed into a cross-faction group dominated by the Fatah members.

The leader speaks

The leader of the Lion’s Den, who spoke to The Cradle on condition of anonymity, stressed that his group was “founded for resistance. We renounce partisanship, and we work in unity for God and the nation, and we extend our hand to every member of any faction who wants to engage with us away from his party affiliation.”

In the past month, the military operations of the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank have led to the killing of four Israeli soldiers, and about 800 confrontation events have been recorded.

In a report by Haaretz entitled “Nablus’ Lion’s Den has become a major headache for Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” the authors of the article, Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury, posit that the main problem with this new resistance group is that most of its members belong to Fatah and hail from large families in Nablus.

This places the PA in an embarrassing situation because any operation targeting the Lion’s Den by the Israeli-backed Palestinian security forces will mean the PA shoots itself in the foot, and destroys what remains of its legitimacy among Fatah and its supporters.

While recognizing that “the situation in the West Bank is very sensitive,” Gantz said in a press statement that eliminating the Lion’s Den whose number does not exceed 30 young men, is “possible.”

However, the group’s leader responded to this by telling The Cradle: “Gantz will be surprised very soon by our numbers and methods of work and how far we can reach.” According to Dergham, the popularity of The Lion’s Den is not limited to the old city of Nablus – rather, its influence now extends to all parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He adds: “Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, Muhammad al-Azizi, Abboud Sobh and others have turned into icons. Whoever assaults them, or arrests their friends, will appear to be a security agent for the occupation, and this is what the authority  (PA) cannot tolerate.”

“Keep your arms”

In advance of his assassination, Ibrahim al-Nabulsi left behind a message in simple colloquial Arabic, in which he said: “For the sake of the honor of your families, keep your arms.”

These words formed the founding charter of the Lion’s Den, which appeared for the first time on 2 September at the memorial ceremony held for their martyred fighters Muhammad al-Azizi and Abd Al-Rahman Subh, who were killed by Israeli forces during a military raid in Nablus on 24 July.

Wearing all black, fully masked, and with weapons held high and close to their right, the members of the Lion’s Den marched through the streets and alleys of Nablus’ old city, with hundreds of people in attendance.

One of the masked men recited the group’s charter, in which he proclaimed the Lion’s Den as “a phenomenon of continuous resistance derived from its unity on the ground, and from the roots of the past revolution.”

He added that “the arrogance of the occupation impose on us as resistance fighters renewed battles, the shape of which the occupation may not expect, especially since this organized and self-managed resistance is able every day to renew the blood in the veins of the resistance in many forms and methods.”

He also reminded fellow members “not to leave the gun under any circumstances and to direct it at the occupation, its settlers, and those who collaborate with the enemy,” and called on their “brothers in the [PA] security services to unite and direct our guns toward the occupation only.”

Popularity of the pride

On 19 September, the PA’s security services arrested Hamas member, Musab Shtayyeh, who is also one of the leaders of The Lion’s Den. In response, the group called for demonstrations that included clashes with Palestinian policemen.

After two days of tension and protests, the group released a statement saying that “the internal fighting only serves the occupation, and our guns will only be directed at the enemy.” Calm returned to the city, and since then, the Lion’s Den fighters have carried out dozens of shooting attacks on settler cars and Israeli military checkpoints.

Due to the group’s rising popularity across the West Bank, several Palestinian factions have sought to claim affiliation with the Lion’s Den, prompting the resistance group to issue statements that it acts independently. The Lion’s Den leader tells The Cradle: “The Qassam, Saraya [Al-Quds Brigades] and Fatah members who operate within the den are involved in a national framework, and do not represent their parties.”

“All are our brothers. When the protests over the arrest of Musab Shtayyeh were about to develop into a strife, we chose to end it, to direct our compass to the occupier,” he explained.

The Hebrew Channel 13, which describes the group as a “terrorist organization,” concedes that: “in less than a year, [the Lion’s Den] have transformed from an obscure organization into an organization that has more influence than all known Palestinian factions, and threatens the security of the Israelis and the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”

Reclaiming territory

A source in the Palestinian resistance in Nablus confirms to The Cradle that the Lion’s Den has indeed expanded the resistance in the West Bank from confronting military incursions and random raids, to organized operations against the collective occupation forces.

The recent operations have illustrated that they are working according to a well-thought-out strategy based on undermining any chance of order that the occupation army and settlers seek to enforce in the cities of the West Bank.

Nevertheless, the Den’s leader expects difficult days ahead in Nablus, the group’s stronghold. In addition to a major security campaign that Israeli forces may launch on the city at any moment to eliminate the group’s infrastructure, the compliant PA is making great efforts to contain the group.

Recently, the PA offered to co-opt Lion’s Den members in its security services, in exchange for an Israeli guarantee that they would not be pursued. The group’s leader responded thus: “We rejected all offers. We will not exploit the blood of martyrs for personal gain.”

According to observers, the new resistance faction has progressed to such an extent that it is now firmly beyond the stage of possible containment or elimination, and the coming days will likely witness its expansion to various West Bank cities and camps.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Palestine’s Lions’ Den: The Zionists’ Latest, Biggest Nightmare

October 17, 2022

By Mohammad Youssef

It has always been said that Palestine is our compass. It continues and will continue to be as such so long as it is under the Western-backed ‘Israeli’ occupation.

The ‘Israeli’ occupation forces launched and continue to implement a black propaganda against Palestine and the Palestinians depicting them as ‘terrorists,’ in which the Tel Aviv regime has tried every possible way to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The ‘Israelis’ have tried wars, massacres, assassinations, building settlements, annexing lands and continuous siege… but all these systematic aggressions and measures did not break the Palestinian people’s will.

They continue to fight with complete resolve and full determination to liberate their occupied land.

One of the basic goals the ‘Israelis’ eyed is to sow the seeds of discord among the Palestinians, and they hope their plots and conspiracies would successfully materialize one day.

One of the Zionist goals is to separate the West Bank from the rest of Palestine and to establish a system of power or authority that would coordinate and serve the ‘Israeli’ entity. They pinned the hope that this will create a wedge within the Palestinian society.

After all those efforts, the ‘Israelis’ are experiencing a real nightmare in the occupied West Bank. The recent uprising [intifada] there is very promising. The daring operations carried out in the West Bank by a resistance group that named itself the ‘Lions’ Den] is putting the ‘Israeli’ regime’s military security along with that of its army into shame.

All the efforts by the different ‘Israeli’ military and security apparatuses were fruitless. Not to mention that all the ‘Israeli’ and western black propaganda and brainwash efforts to mislead the world public opinion about the nature of the Palestinian cause were in vain.

The new generation of the Palestinian youngsters who lived all their life in the occupied West Bank under the Palestinian Authority [PA] system came to realize deeply that all the ‘agreements’ with the ‘Israeli’ regime will not bring them any good. All the ‘security coordination’ between the PA the Zionists is solely serving the ‘Israeli’ interests.

This is the generation that has experienced everything already is revolting now in a new intifada that would put all the so-called ‘Israeli’ achievements in jeopardy.

The recent military operations carried by this group, namely the ‘Lions’ Den’, were extraordinarily courageous. They sent a clear message about the Palestinian determination to fight the occupation.

The ‘Israelis’ have to deal now with new waves of armed resistance operations carried out by this new generation in the occupied West Bank.

What the Tel Aviv regime feared the most is taking place right now. The recent operation in Shuafat tells it all when a Palestinian resistance hero opened fire from a zero distance towards the ‘Israeli’ soldiers, killed one of them and wounded two others. The importance of the operation is that it happened at a time when the ‘Israeli’ enemy was at the highest state of readiness, yet the resistance group succeeded to break through all its high security measures.

The ‘Israeli’ soldiers at the point of the Shuafat operation showed a great deal of cowardice attitudes as they fled the scene to save their lives. They were highly confused and failed to target the perpetrator who fled the place safely. 

This new development is very alarming to the ‘Israeli’ occupiers on many levels. On the contrary, it is very promising to Palestine and its people. The flag of liberation will always be higher and will definitely be handed in from one generation to the other until the complete liberation, which will definitely happen sooner than many believe or expect.

‘The Palestinian View’ – with Ramzy Baroud: Which Side is the PA On? (VIDEO)

October 3, 2022

Ramzy Baroud discusses the very future of the PA. (Thumbnail: The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The arrest of a prominent Palestinian activist, Musab Shtayyeh, and another Palestinian activist, by Palestinian Authority police on September 20 was not the first time that the notorious PA’s Preventive Security Service (PSS) has arrested a Palestinian who is wanted by Israel.

In this episode of ‘The Palestinian View’, Ramzy Baroud talks about the Palestinian Authority, its violence against the Palestinian people and the very future of the PA.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

The Palestinian Authority Faces Two Options; Fight Israel or Fight Palestinians

23 Sep 23:47

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Robert Inlakesh 

The recent arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance.

    Violent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security forces, this Monday, resulted in the death of a 53-year-old and represented a turning point in the relationship between the PA and the newly formed resistance factions inside the occupied West Bank.

    On Monday evening the PA’s Preventative Security Service arrested two Palestinian resistance fighters wanted by “Israel”, Musab Shtayyeh and Ameed Tabila, in the city of Nablus. Musab Shtayyeh, the most prominent of the two, had evaded multiple Israeli arrest campaigns since June of last year. Shtayyeh also managed to escape an Israeli assassination attempt on July 24, which left three other Palestinian resistance fighters dead, after “Israel” had stormed the city of Nablus with hundreds of military personnel, including special forces units.

    The arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance. In both Nablus and Jenin, the two locations where Palestinian armed groups have been the most active, armed fighters took to the streets to make announcements condemning the PA’s actions. Although the resistance forces in Nablus clearly stated that their guns were not aimed at anyone but the occupation, they stressed that their patience should not be tested. 

    It didn’t take long before young people took to the streets to burn tires in central Nablus and chanted in support of Shtayyeh and Tabila, to which the PA security forces responded with gunfire and tear gas. Palestinian resistance fighters also fired back towards the PA forces and it was later declared that a 53-year-old civilian had been shot and killed, the incident was blamed on the Palestinian Authority.

    The images coming out of the West Bank have been striking; young men hurling stones at militarized vehicles, as Western-trained forces fire tear gas and bullets back, except this time the militarised force is not Israeli, it calls itself the Palestinian. To add insult to injury, it has emerged that the PA took the decision to carry out its arrest campaign based upon a request given by the Israeli occupation regime. Hussein al-Sheikh, the Secretary General of the PA’s executive committee, seems to be the source of the order given to carry out the arrests.

    Right now, the PA has been put into its usual defensive mode, where it attempts to justify its actions and bids to convince Palestinians that its ‘Security coordination’ efforts are in the best interest of the Palestinian people, something that Palestinians see through. All of the explanations and excuses in the world will fail to cover up what took place this Monday. Just as was the case last year, when the PA’s security forces brutally beat the beloved activist, Nizar Banat, to death, after pulling him out of his home in front of his family. According to Amnesty International, it’s clear at this time that the PA failed to ensure accountability for the assassination of Nizar Banat and so it should come as no surprise that PA forces are sliding down a slippery slope into chaos.

    Just as the United States and its NATO allies have failed to adjust their mindsets to the current era, so too has the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. We must recognise that we are now witnessing the era in which the expression of a new Palestinian generation is being felt; armed resistance factions are rising, an armed resistance populated – primarily – by young people between the ages of 18-25. When we break down what this means; it suggests that today’s resistance fighters in the West Bank were only small children when the Second Intifada was happening. The fighters in Jenin and Nablus today, fit into a trend that began emerging in the early to mid 80’s, when Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) cadres would organise themselves with modest means to fight the occupation. 

    The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank do not remember what it felt like to see the resistance crushed, during “Israel’s” brutal ‘operation defensive shield’ of 2002, they are not afraid and believe in victory. The biggest problem they now face however, began in 2002, following ‘operation defensive shield’; that is the CIA’s dismantling and reformation of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. Nobody likes to talk about this, but it is true and cannot be disputed, at the behest of Israeli, EU and US interests, the PA’s security forces were transformed into a Western-Jordanian trained and equipped “anti-terrorism” task force, designed to do the heavy lifting for the Israeli occupation army.

    Since the end of the Second Intifada, in 2007, we haven’t seen the energized armed struggle that we see today in the West Bank and so the PA’s forces have been capable of performing their duties, with little to no pushback. However, it has been way too long since the Oslo Agreements and the rhetoric of the Zionist entity has transitioned back to that which it maintained during the 1970’s, regarding Palestinian self governance. Palestinians don’t see any hope for change and the PA is not making any progress whatsoever towards achieving any form of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian bourgeoisie of Ramallah are happy living in their imaginary fantasy world and the PA has now absorbed the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). There has been no national elections since 2006 and the non-economy of the West Bank, which is completely controlled by the Zionist entity and Jordanian regime, is getting worse for the poorest in society.

    The PA is now beginning to face its worst nightmare, the ultimatum that we all knew was coming at some point; they can turn their guns on the Zionist entity, or they can turn their guns on the Palestinian resistance and face the end of their power as we know it. There is no more standing in the middle, attempting to please the West by collaborating with the Israeli occupation forces on “security coordination” and playing the game of condemning Zionist atrocities, whilst begging on their knees for peace. The next chapter is going to be violent, now it is on those within that Fatah Party leadership to decide where the PA is heading and what side of the violence they are going to be on, because asking for peace talks is not going to solve today’s issues. 

    The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

    Palestinians in Gaza Rise against PA ‘Security Coordination’ with Israel (PHOTOS)

    September 21, 2022

    Tepresentatives of major Palestinian clans and tribes demand the immediate release of Shtayyeh. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

    By Palestine Chronicle Staff

    ‘The National Committee of Palestinian Tribes, Clans and Families in the Gaza Strip’ urged in a statement the Palestinian people to rise up against the latest measures by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to arrest a leading fighter in the West Bank city of Nablus. 

    On Tuesday, PA security forces arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a decision that led to widespread protests in Nablus and across the occupied Palestinian territories. 

    In their statement, representatives of major Palestinian clans and tribes demanded the immediate release of Shtayyeh, and an end to all ‘security coordination’ between the PA and the Israeli occupation. 

    The Palestine Chronicle attended the large assembly held in Gaza City on Tuesday. 

    (All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

    New Poll: 74% of Palestinians Want PA President Abbas to Resign

    September 22, 2022

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

    Over 70% of Palestinians want Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, Al-Risalah newspaper reported on Wednesday.

    According to the news site, the poll was conducted between September 13-17, ahead of Abbas’ speech before the UN General Assembly on Friday.

    74 percent of those polled said they did not want Abbas as their president, with only 23 percent saying they wanted him to remain in office.

    In April 2021, Abbas postponed parliamentary and presidential elections, “until the participation of our people in Jerusalem is guaranteed.”


    In the West Bank, Resistance Rises as the PA Crumbles

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

    The Palestinian resistance factions of the West Bank are no longer fractured and in disarray, and the results speak for themselves

    The Israeli army’s recent incursions into the cities and refugee camps of the northern occupied-West Bank are not going as smoothly as before.

    The occupation army’s incursions into the city of Jenin and Jenin refugee camp in early September required the mobilization of large forces, including special units and armored vehicles – in scale, unprecedented since 2014.

    On the night of 6 September, a force of about 100 vehicles carried out a raid in Jenin, supported by air with drones, and on land, by hundreds of soldiers from Israel’s elite military units.

    Their task? To demolish the house of Ra’ad Hazem, who carried out the Dizengoff attack in Tel Aviv on 7 April, 2022. More than anything, this excessive military build-up over a single home demolition illustrates that the Israeli military can no longer operate in the West Bank as they did before the May 2021 ‘Sayf Al Quds’ conflagration – and its subsequent developments.

    After the 6 September operation – which resulted in the death of three Israelis and wounded 14 – the occupation army launched Operation ‘Break the Waves’ in response to the rapid expansion of Palestinian resistance factions and fervor in the West Bank.

    The re-emergence of resistance in the West Bank

    Break the Waves’ objective, according to then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, was to “attack without borders in order to stop the [resistance] operations” – four of which were carried out in cities in occupied territories – and to destroy the infrastructure of the resistance factions in Jenin and Nablus.

    Five months after the Tel Aviv attack, the situation in the West Bank remains tense and is heading toward further escalation. In the interim, three new resistance battalions have been announced in Nablus, Tulkarm and Tubas.

    Between 2007 and 2021, the resistance factions, particularly Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), remained stuck in a vicious cycle. The enemy’s surgical strikes were hindering their proactive initiatives, and until 2020, their activities were limited to the formation of fighting cells that were able to carry out one or two attacks before being incapacitated.

    Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Palestinian Authority (PA) security services have fully collaborated with the occupation authorities to pursue these resistance factions, for fear of having the Gaza model repeated in the West Bank.

    The genesis lies in Jenin

    The rejuvenation of resistance in the occupied West Bank can be attributed to the martyr Jamil al-Amouri. A prominent figure in the Jenin camp, Amouri was considered the most “wanted” by the occupation state for carrying out several shooting attacks against Israeli positions around Jenin, during the 2021 battle of Sayf al-Quds.

    He effectively contributed to the formation of active military cells inside the camp, which later went on to form the nucleus of the Jenin Brigade.

    In early June 2021, Amouri was assassinated, along with Lieutenant Adham Yasser Tawfiq Alawi from Nablus, and Captain Tayseer Mahmoud Othman Eissa from Jenin. The deaths of a PIJ commander along with two officers from the PA’s Military Intelligence effectively broke the ice between the PIJ on the one hand, and the Fatah movement and members of the security services in Jenin and Nablus, on the other.

    This also led to a subtle change in the popular resistance factions’ perception of the PA security services, who for years have been accused of being agents of the occupation.

    As political researcher Muhammad Dargham told The Cradle: “The martyrdom of Amouri with two officers from the security services removed the veil from the eyes of many supporters of the [Palestinian] Authority and the Fatah who woke up after thirteen years and found themselves guards of security coordination with Israel.”

    PIJ and Fatah: setting aside differences

    According to Dargham, the killing of Amouri, Alawi, and Eissa created harmony – at least in the Jenin camp – between the Al-Quds Brigades and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – the respective armed wings of the PIJ and Fatah.

    Three months after Amouri’s murder, five Palestinian prisoners belonging to the PIJ movement, along with the leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Zakaria Al-Zubaidi, managed to escape from Gilboa Prison, the most fortified of all Israeli prisons. Two of the six, Ayham Kamamji and Monadel Nafeat, managed to reach Jenin refugee camp.

    By 19 September, 2021, all escapees were re-captured. However the date is also notable for the establishment of the Jenin Brigade – the first semi-organized resistance formation in the West Bank in 17 years. Importantly, while the Brigade was founded by PIJ operatives, it also consists of members of the armed wings of political rivals Hamas and Fatah.

    Resistance spreads like wild fire

    For many years, Israel ruled out the success of any semi-organized resistance action in the West Bank cities and refugee camps. This is due to the occupation’s adoption of a “maximum integration” policy that linked all aspects of the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank to Israel.

    The occupation also adopted its “mowing the lawn” policy, which sought to target all resistances cells by arresting or killing its members.

    These strategies were designed to send the message that any attempt to resist is doomed to failure, and the fate of those who undertake it will be life imprisonment or assassination.

    However, what transpired in September 2021 was different from all Israeli estimates. The Jenin Brigade maintained its military continuity, and the attempts to storm the Jenin refugee camp became much more costly for the Israelis.

    Previously, any Israeli force that invaded the camp was met with stone-throwing and firecrackers. But over the course of a year and three months, the alliance of Al-Quds Brigades and Al-Aqsa Brigades raised the bar considerably, and stands as testament to the benefits of a united armed front for the resistance.

    This was noticeable about a year after the launch of the Jenin Brigade. On 24 May, 2022, clashes erupted in the area of the Prophet Joseph’s tomb, near Balata and Askar refugee camps, east of Nablus. Israeli settlers used to enter this area without any confrontation except for stone throwing.

    On that day, though, the confrontations developed into an armed clash that seemed organized and with purpose. A few days later, Al-Quds Brigades issued a statement announcing the launch of the Nablus Brigade.

    One month earlier, three resistance fighters from the Al-Quds Brigades were killed in a clash with the Israeli army. One of the three, Saif Abu Libdeh, from the Ain Shams camp in Tulkarem, had worked for months to establish the infrastructure for a group that would be announced six weeks after his death, under the name Tulkarem Brigade. This was followed by the formation of another battalion – the Tubas Brigade in June.

    The occupation state: feeling the heat

    According to the Israeli army’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, the occupation forces have foiled “hundreds of operations” since the beginning of the Operation Break the Wave, and carried out more than 1,500 precautionary arrests.

    Indeed, the first half of this year witnessed more than 3,700 Palestinian attacks in the West Bank, during which 21 settlers were killed and 316 wounded, including 2,692 attacks with stones, 577 with Molotov cocktails, 542 with burning tires, 33 with explosive devices, 30 with fireworks, 25 with paint bottles, 14 shootings, 1 case of hit and run, 4 cases of stabbing (with 7 foiled).

    However, these numbers maybe underrepresented. For instance, in one week alone (28 August to 3 September 2022), 12 soldiers and settlers were injured, and about 90 points of confrontation were observed, including one stabbing attack, 22 shooting attacks, and 15 throwing explosive devices and Molotov cocktails.

    Point of no return

    There is consensus among the Israeli security establishment, think-tanks, and military analysts that the situation on the ground in the West Bank has reached a point of no return. The question that worries Israel is: Is it possible to eliminate the new resistance developments – or at least keep them confined to the northern West Bank and prevent their expansion to southern cities such as Hebron and Bethlehem, or central cities such as Jerusalem and Ramallah?

    This Israeli concern is justified considering that the beginning of September bore serious consequences for the Israelis. On 4 September, three Palestinians from Jenin (a father and his two sons) shot at a bus carrying Kfir unit recruits in the Jordan Valley, injuring more than seven Israeli soldiers.

    Until now, the results of the investigations have not been announced, but it seems that the attack was carefully planned in terms of timing, and choice of location, where there were fewer surveillance cameras at work.

    A few days later, the Israeli army aborted an attempt by a Palestinian youth from Nablus from carrying out an operation in central Tel Aviv. The police suggested that the young man “infiltrated through a hole in the wall in the Tulkarem area,” where the army deployed three infantry battalions to thwart further attempts.

    There is yet another event that suggests the resistance action in the West Bank is growing. At dawn, on Thursday 8 September, members of the Jenin Brigade detonated a locally manufactured explosive device targeting a military jeep during a raid of one of the neighboring camps.

    It turned out that the device was controlled remotely, which represented a major technical development for the resistance factions, whose infrastructure was destroyed at the end of the Second Intifada.

    Israelis are fanning the flames

    The Israeli Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv believes that the PIJ has succeeded in transforming the northern West Bank into a hotbed of resistance, as well as in smuggling weapons and money to Palestinian cities and camps.

    These concerns coincide with expressed doubts over the efficacy of Israel’s “mowing the lawn” policy, which has fueled the “vicious cycle of blood,” according to Amos Harel, a military analyst writing for Haaretz newspaper.

    In an article he wrote earlier this month, Harel asked whether the Israeli army is quelling the West Bank’s flames, or actually fanning them.

    Avi Iskharov, an analyst in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, opined that Israel is facing a “new situation” that is not similar to the two previous intifadas of 1987 and 2000, pointing out that “there are pockets of Palestinian gunmen in Nablus and Jenin (in the northern West Bank), who clash almost every night with the army and shoot at Israeli targets.”

    Sources close to the resistance brigades in the West Bank told The Cradle that “Israel’s concerns are exaggerated for use in the upcoming election campaign.”

    “What we are seeing today is the result of years of [resistance] efforts. As the train has set off, returning to the starting point means acceptance of our mass killing, and this is out of the question,” says one Palestinian source.

    Israel: The PA is not collaborating enough

    The Israelis have sought to place the blame for their inability to eliminate the resistance brigades and to abort operations in the occupied territories squarely on the PA in Ramallah, who they feel are failing to fulfill their obligations.

    Israel’s Kan channel quoted an Israeli official as saying that “the Palestinian security services should increase their activity in the cities of the West Bank to prevent further escalation.”

    As for the Palestinians, the corruption-ridden PA is too weak to play a pivotal role in curbing the resistance which enjoys broad Palestinian popular support. Any further association made between the PA with the Israeli security campaigns will make it lose what is left of its flagging legitimacy.

    The Hebrew Walla website quoted Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA’s channel of communication with the Israelis, as saying: “It is Israel that has weakened the [Palestinian] Authority through daily incursions into the Palestinian areas.”

    “The authority cannot accept a reality in which the army storms the occupied territories every night, then we are asked to work during the day against the militants,” added Sheikh.

    A dawn of a new era in the West Bank

    Meanwhile, the US has been keen to help prop up the PA and help it “restore stability,” by taking measures such as “increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians” in the occupied territories, “pumping economic aid to the Authority from various sources,” and facilitating the movement of Palestinians.

    US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, who recently visited Israel and met with senior security officials, warned that “the situation in the West Bank is worse than it appears and the future of the entire PA is under threat.”

    In the early hours of 20 September, PA security forces in Nablus arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Hamas commander wanted by Israel. Later that day, clashes broke out between the PA and hundreds of Palestinians who hit the streets in protest.

    Resistance factions are demanding Shtayyeh’s immediate release and are threatening to bar the PA from Nablus until this is done.

    In a video addressing the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian resistance in Jenin cautioned: “we do not want to fight with you, but stay away from us. If you deal in kidnapping, we will also deal in kidnapping.”

    The Authority’s unelected President Mahmoud Abbas is in a bind: he fears mutiny from within for collaborating with Israeli security, and fears punishment from Israel for not doing so.

    By not adopting a conclusive direction, on a daily basis Abbas drains the PA of further legitimacy and authority, as demonstrated in Nablus today.

    In terms of the prospects for Palestinian national liberation, this at least will be a welcome development, as the decline or demise of the western and Israeli-backed PA will open a wide door to revitalized armed resistance in the occupied West Bank.

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    Palestinian Authority security arrests Palestinian wanted by IOF

    19 Sep 20223

    Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    Local Palestinian sources say Palestinian Authority security services arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Palestinian who is wanted by the IOF in Nablus.

    Local Palestinian sources say Palestinian Authority security services arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Palestinian who is wanted by the IOF in Nablus.

    Musab Shtayyeh and martyr Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi

    Al Mayadeen correspondent in occupied Palestine reported Monday that the Palestinian Authority security services arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Palestinian who is wanted by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), in the city of Nablus, in the occupied West bank.

    Local sources said that a Preventive Security force arrested Shtayyeh, along with two others, from downtown Nablus.

    Our correspondent said that young men from Nablus are burning rubber tires in protest of the arrest of Shtayyeh by the Palestinian Authority, adding that a number of camps in Nablus are witnessing demonstrations calling for Shatyyeh’s release.

    In response, Hamas movement spokesperson Abdel Latif Al-Qanou considered Shtayyeh’s arrest by the Palestinian Authority security services to be a free service to the Israeli occupation.

    It is noteworthy that Shtayyeh is a freed prisoner, and Israeli occupation forces have repeatedly threatened his father to assassinate him.

    كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (2/4)

    الخميس15 أيلول 2022

    عبد الرحمن نصار 

    عام 2022، انطلقت كتيبة نابلس ومعها مجموعتان من فتح، لتصبح نابلس ندّاً حقيقياً لجنين، ثم جاءت كتيبة طولكرم لتخفف العبء الميداني عن جنين ونابلس، مع زيادة استنزاف الإسرائيليين على صعيد القوات البرية والمجهود المخابراتي.

    كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (2/4)

    أخذت جنين حصة الأسد من الحلقة الأولى، ليس حصراً لأن انطلاق كتائب المقاومة المتصاعدة في الضفة بدأ منها، بل لأنها تمثّل الشعلة التي يجب ألا تنطفئ حتى تتّقد المدن الباقية، ولا سيما الخليل. فعلى الطريق إلى الجنوب، زرع الشهيد جميل العموري بذوراً أين ما حلّ، في نابلس وطولكرم، وليس أخيراً طوباس. 

    لكن مدناً أخرى، مثل نابلس، تسبب دخولها على خط المواجهة في انقلاب جذري للمعادلة، إذ ربما أمكن احتواء ظاهرة جنين عسكرياً (سياسة القضم البطيء والاستدراج والاغتيالات المركزة)، أو اجتماعياً (“التسهيلات” وزيادة التجارة وتصاريح العمل)، فيما أتى دخول مدن ومخيمات أخرى ليوسّع المأزق الإسرائيلي.

    بعد عام تقريباً على انطلاقة “كتيبة جنين” واستشهاد مؤسسها جميل العموري، ومن بعده عبد الله الحصري وشادي نجم وأحمد السعدي وآخرون، أثمر الزرع في نابلس. في 24 أيار/مايو 2022، شهدت منطقة ضريح النبي يوسف القريبة من مخيمي بلاطة وعسكر شرقي نابلس اشتباكات بين المستوطنين والمئات من الشبان الذين رشقوا القوات المقتحمة بالحجارة، قبل أن يتطور المشهد إلى اشتباك مسلح بدا أنه يأخذ الشكل المنظم والمدروس.

    بعدها بأيام قليلة، صدر البيان الأول لـ”كتيبة نابلس” شارحاً حيثيات الكمين الذي نفّذه 4 مقاتلين؛ “اثنان اعتليا أسطح أحد البنايات القريبة من القبر… في حين تمركز آخران بين الأشجار في الجهة المقابلة قبل الاقتحام بساعات… انتظروا وقت اطمئنان جنود الاحتلال، وأمطروهم بزخات الرصاص من مسافة قريبة جداً، قبل أن ينسحب مقاتلونا من المكان بسلام”.

    أيامٌ أخرى وبدأت عُصب “سرايا القدس” (الجهاد الإسلامي) بالظهور في المدينة التي كانت شبه محسومة لمقاتلي “فتح” (وسط غياب حمساوي مسلح رغم الحضور الجيد للحركة هناك)، وهذا ما كانت تعالجه خطابات الكتيبة بوضوح، إذ قالت في بيان لاحق: “لسنا وحيدين في الميدان… ظروف محافظة نابلس تستوجب العمل ضمن ضوابط في التشبيك والمتابعة والإعلان للمحافظة على أمد العمل المقاوم، فكل بندقيةٍ نفضت غبارها أفقياً هي شريكةٌ حتمية في الكفاح المسلح، لا نقدمها ولا نؤخرها، فنحن نتاج فكرة خرج بها الشهيد المجاهد جميل العموري حينما قال: رسالتي إلى شباب الضفة، لا تطلقوا رصاصكم في الهواء”.

    • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح
    • كتائب المقاومة في نابلس
    • كتيبة نابلس / بلاطة – سرايا القدس
    • كتائب الأقصى – فتح
    • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح
    • كتائب المقاومة في نابلس
    • كتيبة نابلس / بلاطة – سرايا القدس
    • كتائب الأقصى – فتح
    • مجموعات عرين الأسود – فتح

    “جبل النار”

    من المعروف أنَّ نابلس لا تُعدّ من معاقل “الجهاد الإسلامي” في الضفة، بل تقتسمها “حماس” و”فتح”، لكن العلاقة الجيدة بين “الجهاد” وعدد من عناصر “فتح”، والأزمة في العلاقة بين فتحاويي المدينة، وخصوصاً البلدة القديمة، والسلطة، والكاريزما التي كان يتمتع بها الشهيد العموري وزياراته إلى نابلس، عوامل ساهمت كلها في سحب قدم كثيرين إلى الظاهرة المستجدة، لكن “كتيبة نابلس” (سرايا القدس) تتركز أكثر في بلاطة الذي يمتاز بواقع أمني وديموغرافي يسمح بتمدد الفعل المقاوم.

    في بلاطة كثافةٌ سكانية عالية لأربعين ألف لاجئ يعيشون وسط هندسة مدنية تمثّل عامل احتضان أمني جيّد يحرم القوات المقتحمة حريةَ المناورة، لأنه يتكون من بيوت متجاورة وشوارع ضيقة تسمح بإمكانية التنقل من بيت إلى بيت من دون الحاجة إلى الخروج إلى الشوارع الرئيسية. هو أيضاً بيئة جيدة للعمل العسكري ضد الاحتلال، بالنظر إلى خروجه عن تبعية السلطة، فالعلاقة بين الفتحاويين هناك والأجهزة الأمنية علاقة شائكة وصلت إلى ذروتها في شباط/فبراير 2018، قبل أن تنفجر في 2020.

    مع أنَّ مدينةً مثل الخليل فيها كميات سلاح أكبر من نابلس، فإنَّ استغلال القيادي المفصول من “فتح” محمد دحلان حالة النقمة على الأجهزة الأمنية في نابلس لاختراق القواعد الشعبية للحركة هو ما أثار السلطة ضدهم أكثر من غيرهم.

    امتدّ هذا الاستغلال 7 سنوات ضخّ فيها دحلان أموالاً إماراتية اشترى بها ولاءات كثيرة، بعدما كان المسيطر من قبله اللواء توفيق الطيراوي، والأخير أيضاً سحب منه رئيس السلطة، محمود عباس، حديثاً عدداً من الامتيازات، منها حراسه الشخصيون، بعد صدامه مع الوزير الصّاعد بسرعة إلى سدة القيادة، حسين الشيخ، وعدد آخر من القيادات الفتحاوية.

    في النتيجة، سمحت حالة التوتر داخل “فتح” بإنشاء بيئة حاضنة لكل فعل يعارض توجهات السلطة، وهذا ما دفع “الجهاد الإسلامي” إلى التقاط الفرصة، تحديداً في بلاطة. الخطوة الأكثر ذكاء أنها لم تسعَ إلى تحويل الشبان انتماءهم التنظيمي إليها، بل طلبت منهم الاستمرار بالعمل باسم تنظيمهم كي يحافظوا على ما لديهم من امتيازات، وثانياً – ليس السبب الأخير – كي يستقطبوا عدداً أكبر للمقاومة المسلحة. ما ساعد في ذلك أنَّ الفتحاويين عموماً يتقبّلون التحالف مع “الجهاد” أكثر من “حماس”، وحتى “الجبهة الشعبية”، ولا سيما في مدن شمالي الضفة، ولهذا أسبابه التي تحتاج بحثاً منفصلاً.

    ما سبق جعل حتى مناصري “الجهاد الإسلامي” يرون في تشكيل هذه الكتيبة “أعجوبة”، وخصوصاً أن كوادر الحركة المنظّمين رسمياً في نابلس لم يكونوا يتعدّون المئة بقليل حتى وقت قريب. مما يزيد امتيازات دخول المدينة على خط كتائب المقاومة هو وفرة السلاح، ولا سيما في بلاطة، الّذي يمتاز شبابه بخصلة مشتركة مع أهالي جنين هي “شجاعتهم الشديدة واندفاعهم غير المحدود”.

    وبينما مثّل الأداء السيئ للأجهزة الأمنية و”فتح” على الصعيد الداخلي، ومن ذلك اغتيال نزار بنات وسرقة أموال بناء مستشفى الحسن للسرطان والتنسيق الأمني، عوامل منفرة، تسبب استشهاد أدهم مبروكة (28 عاماً) ومحمد الدخيل (22 عاماً) وأشرف مبلسط (21 عاماً) في 8 شباط/فبراير 2022 بحالة تأثر كبيرة، خصوصاً أن اغتيالهم جرى وسط نابلس، وفي وضح النهار، بالنظر إلى الحضور الشعبي الذي كانوا يتمتعون به، وهو الأمر الذي أدركت رام الله خطورته سلفاً. ولذلك، كانت ولا تزال تعمل قدر المستطاع على إيجاد شرخ بين العناصر المسلحين التابعين لـ”فتح” من جهة، وخلق عداوات بينهم وبين “الجهاد” من جهة، وأكبر مثال على ذلك الإشكال الذي وقع مع قيادات في الأخيرة (خضر عدنان مثالاً).

    منذ اغتيال الثلاثة، بدأت مطاردة شاب صغير يُدعى إبراهيم النابلسي (19 عاماً) لم يكن مشهوراً في ذلك الوقت بقدر شهرته بعد استشهاده (9 آب/أغسطس 2022)، لكن الأشهر الستة التي عاشها مطارداً كانت كفيلة، إلى جانب مقتله في معركة، بالدفع نحو تعزيز حالة المقاومة في نابلس. وجاء استشهاده، ومعه إسلام صبوح (في العشرينات) وحسين نزال (16 عاماً)، ليعطي دفعة جديدة للمقاومين، ويجعل عدداً من الفتحاويين الرافضين أوامر حركتهم يخلقون تشكيلاً جديداً حمل اسم “عرين الأسود”، أعلن نفسه بداية هذا الشهر. 

    النابلسي سبق أن نجا من محاولة اغتيال قبل استشهاده بأسبوعين، قضى فيها شهيدان كان لهما أيضاً تأثيرهما في الجمهور، هما محمد عزيزي (25 عاماً) وعبد الرحمن صبح (28 عاماً)، عقب حصار واشتباك. مع ذلك، تواجه الحالات العسكرية في نابلس مشكلة في القيادة الموحدة وتنظيم العمل وجعله يرتقي من وضعية التصدي للاجتياحات إلى المبادرة، وهذا ما يحتاج إلى زمن، لكنَّ آثار التحسن بدأت تظهر أكثر فأكثر مع عدد من الكمائن المتتالية، وخصوصاً التي تستهدف المستوطنين ممن يقتحمون قبر يوسف دورياً. 

    من جهة أخرى، تعني قوة نابلس تخفيف الضغط على جنين، وخصوصاً أن بلاطة يمثل أكبر مخيم لاجئين في الضفة، والعقبات اللوجستية بشأن إيصال الأموال والأسلحة إليه أقل من جنين، فضلاً عن أن زيادة حالة المنافسة الحزبية تقود إلى مزيد من الفعالية في العمل، خصوصاً بين “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي”. ورغم سيئات الحالة التنافسية على المجتمع ظاهراً، فإن نتاجاتها على صعيد المقاومة إيجابية في هذه المرحلة.

    هكذا، حاول الاحتلال في البداية التقليل من قدر “كتيبة نابلس” وكذلك “طولكرم” و”طوباس”، حتى وصل فيه الحال إلى إهمال ذكر الأخيرتين في الإعلام العبري، لتتحول “كتيبة نابلس” ومجموعات “فتح” بالتدريج إلى ندّ حقيقي لـ”جنين”، وتزيد شعبيتها وحضورها مع توالي الشهداء والتصدي للاقتحامات.

    كتيبة طولكرم

    في 2 نيسان/أبريل 2022، وقع اشتباك في مدخل قرية عرابة في جنين قضى فيه الشهيد سيف أبو لبدة (25 عاماً)، ابن مخيم عين شمس بطولكرم، ليتضح أنه كان في طريقه لتنفيذ عملية استشهادية قبل أن تطارده قوة خاصة من الجيش. 

    أثناء المطاردة، وقعت القوة في كمين محكم شارك فيه عدد من عناصر “كتيبة جنين”، ودار اشتباك طويل مع قوات الاحتلال أدى إلى إصابة 4 من الجنود، أحدهم بصورة خطرة، واستشهاد كل من صائب عباهرة (30 عاماً) وخليل طوالبة (24 عاماً)، إلى جانب أبو لبدة.

    قاد حدثان مهمان جهاز “الشاباك” إلى أبو لبدة: الأول تنفيذه قبل أسبوع من اغتياله عملية إطلاق نار على قوة خاصة، أطلق فيها 52 رصاصة على وحدات الاحتلال (“لم يصب أي من الجنود بأعجوبة”، وفق وصف القناة العبرية 12)، والآخر أنه ظهر وهو يتحدث أمام مجموعة من عناصر “الجهاد”، مؤكداً لهم أن حدثاً كبيراً قريباً سيسمعون به. 

    في وقت لاحق، نشرت “سرايا القدس” مقطعاً مصوراً ظهر فيه وهو يقرأ وصيته على طريقة استشهاديي الانتفاضة الثانية، ليكون أبو لبدة، كما العموري، صاحب الدور التأسيسي الملهم في طولكرم، فيما توكّل الأمين العام للحركة، زياد النخالة، بنفسه إعلان ولادة “كتيبة طولكرم”.

    من الجيد التذكير بأنّ علاقة تاريخية مميزة تربط بين مخيمي جنين ونور شمس، فجذور اللجوء واحدة، لأن المخيم الصغير تأسَّس عام 1951، أي بعد 3 سنوات على نكبة فلسطين، وسكان نور شمس في الأساس كانوا يسكنون مخيماً في جنين مقاماً على سهل جنزور، لكن بسبب عاصفة ثلجية أطاحت به رحلوا إلى طولكرم، فكان المخيم الجديد الذي يقارب عدد سكانه 10 آلاف. ومثل نابلس، لم يسجّل عين شمس خلال سنوات انتفاضة الأقصى الثانية أنه كان معقلاً لـ”الجهاد الإسلامي”، لكن الحركة استطاعت أن تتمدد فيه بعدما كان ثقلها متركزاً في قرى مثل عتيل وعلار وصيدا.

    جاء اختيار هذا المخيم لتأسيس نواة الكتيبة جاء بسبب هندسته المكانية والتداخل العمراني وإمكانية الاتصال الجغرافي بينه وبين مخيم جنين، ليكون أكثر أماناً من مراكز المدن. وكما يبدو، احتاج الشهيد أبو لبدة وقتاً شبيهاً بالذي احتاجه العموري للتأسيس والتحشيد لإحياء العمل العسكري من جديد، فضلاً عن تنفيذه شخصياً عدداً من عمليات المشاغلة وإطلاق النار.

    في البداية، تجاهل العدو هذه الكتيبة على الصعيد الإعلامي، ولا يزال كذلك إلى حدّ ما، بل عمد إلى العمل عليها مخابراتياً من دون مواجهة مبْكرة كي لا يساهم في صناعة رموز ملهمين كما جنين، وهذا ما يفسر محاولة الاحتلال اعتقال أبو لبدة لا قتله، لكن وقوع القوة في كمين هو ما قاد إلى اشتباك دامٍ بين الجانبين. 

    مع ذلك، يَفهم الإسرائيلي أنَّ طولكرم لها بعض الخصائص التي تميزها عن كلٍّ من جنين ونابلس، إذ يمتاز شبابها، بالنظر إلى التجربة في الانتفاضة الثانية، بالهدوء الكبير والتفكير المعمّق والصبر الإستراتيجي في تنفيذ الفعل.

    هذا لا ينفي وجود هذه المميزات نفسها في جنين ونابلس، لكن لكلٍّ نقطة قوته. المثال على ذلك ما فعله الشهيد لؤي السعدي (“الجهاد الإسلامي”، 1979-2005) حين أسس مدرسة عسكرية كان قوامها التخطيط الطويل للوصول إلى الأهداف المدروسة بعناية، والقدرة العالية على العمل على نحو يتجاوز الفعل الطارئ إلى المستمر الذي يمكن أن يعاود نشاطه بعد كل ضربة، وأيضاً التخفي عن العدو، وأخيراً الحالة المتشعّبة في توزيع قواعد الفعل العسكري إلى قرى بعيدة ومدن خارج الحيز المكاني الذي تبدأ منه.

    السلوك نفسه ينطبق على قيادات أخرى في طولكرم على اختلاف انتماءاتهم الحزبية، منهم الأسير عباس السيد (1966)، أحد أكبر قادة “كتائب القسام” (حماس) في طولكرم، وهو مسؤول عن قتل مئات المستوطنين والجنود في عشرات العمليات الاستشهادية، وكذلك الشهيد رائد الكرمي (1974-2002)، أبرز مؤسسي “كتائب الأقصى” (فتح) وقائدها العام عقب اغتيال ثابت ثابت. وقد اتهمته قوات الاحتلال بالمسؤولية عن قتل العشرات من المستوطنين والجنود، وقالت إن الانتفاضة الثانية تزداد سوءاً بسببه. وكان من الممكن أنْ يؤدي الاستثمار المستمر في نهج الكرمي، الملقّب بـ”صائد المستوطنين”، إلى رفع كلفة الاستيطان في الضفة، وصولاً إلى تفكيك بعض المستوطنات.

    خاتمة: طولكرم إذا عادت

    إضافة إلى ما سبق، تحمل طولكرم جملة أخرى من المميزات، من أهمها التواصل الجغرافي والتداخل التاريخي بينها وبين مخيم جنين؛ ففي اجتياح 2002، انتقل القائد الشيخ الشهيد رياض بدير (الجهاد الإسلامي) على رأس العشرات من المقاومين من طولكرم، واستطاعوا المشاركة في القتال إلى جانب مقاومي جنين حتى الاستشهاد، وهو ما يفسر التدخل السريع لعناصر “كتيبة جنين” في الكمين. أيضاً، تمتلك بلدات طولكرم ومخيماتها إرثاً تاريخياً مرتبطاً بالشهداء والأسرى شبيهاً بالذي تمتلكه جنين، حتى إننا نتحدث عن أجهزة أمنية يفعل عناصرها ما يفعله عناصر في جنين.

    ومثلما تحظى جنين بسهولة وصول السلاح إليها من الداخل المحتل، تتميَّز طولكرم بأنها واحدة من أكبر المجمعات البشرية الفلسطينية التي تمتهن السرقة من المحتل، بل شكلت المدينة السوق الأبرز والأكثر ثراءً لسرقة السيارات ذات الأرقام الإسرائيلية لتنفيذ عمليات فدائية أو نقل الاستشهاديين إلى مدن العمق، لكن العنصر الأهم الذي يُبنى عليه هو ثقافة الاشتباك حتى النفس الأخير ورفض الأسر، التي أنشأها قادة “الجهاد” في الضفة، ولا سيما الشهداء السعدي وبدير وإياد حردان وآخرون.

    ساهمت “طولكرم” في تخفيف العبء الميداني عن “جنين” وكذلك “نابلس”، وخصوصاً مع زيادة استنزاف الإسرائيليين على صعيد القوات البرية والمجهود المخابراتي، لكن الأخطر على الاحتلال هو نضوج الفعل العسكري لـ”طولكرم”، لأن مثل هذا الحدث سيشكل فارقة نوعية في الضفة، ليس في تمدد خلايا المقاومة فحسب، إنما زيادة القدرة على اختراق الداخل المحتل أيضاً، وربما تحوّل العمل من الاشتباك التكتيكي ورد الفعل إلى المبادرة والعمل المنظم القادر على كيّ الوعي الإسرائيلي، كما فعل بطلان من جنين لن ينسى أحد اسميهما: رعد خازم، وضياء حمارشة الذي عبر من خلال طولكرم، وقبلهما وبعدهما أسرى وشهداء كثر.

    هذا ما يفسر أن أكثر من نصف الكتائب الإسرائيلية المنتشرة في الضفة تتركز حول طولكرم، لتعبّر عن المأزق الإسرائيلي في مواجهة هذه المدينة التي تشبه الرمح المغروز في خاصرة “إسرائيل”، بل يكفيها وصول سلاح بسيط في حسابات الجيوش، مثل قذائف الهاون، ليصير قلب “الدولة” تحت النار.

    اقرأ: كتائب المقاومة في الضفة: عندما يستفيق “الأسد النائم” (1/4) 

    Palestinian Resistance Movements Call for Quitting Oslo and Ending ‘Security Coordination’

    September 15, 2022

    Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, US President Bill Clinton, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo Accord. (Photo: Vince Musi, via Wikimedia Commons)

    Palestinian resistance movements called on Wednesday for a total withdrawal from the Oslo Accords and an end to ‘security coordination’ between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation security services, Quds Press reported.

    Speaking on behalf of the movements, senior Islamic Jihad official Nafeth Azzam said that Oslo gave “legitimacy” to the Israeli occupation and illegal Jewish settlements.

    Azzam made his comments during a conference in Gaza to mark the anniversary of the Oslo Accords. He also issued a warning about the normalization of Arab states with Israel.

    “This path is doomed to fail. The Palestinians have surprised the world with their rejection of Oslo and their rejection of the normalization of ties between the occupation and Arab nations.”

    The Palestinian resistance, he pointed out, broke the security equation of the Israeli occupation and forced it to leave the Gaza Strip seventeen years ago.


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    Palestinian factions to PA: Abort Oslo, recant ‘Israel’ recognition

    September 13, 2022 14:28 

    Source: Al-Mayadeen

    By Al-Mayadeen English 

    Palestinian factions reaffirm position to liberate all of Palestine.

    29 years after Oslo Accords, Palestinians have not given up on liberation.

    Hamas movement urged on Tuesday the Palestinian Authority to take the initiative and announce the end of the Oslo Accords and recanting the recognition of the usurping Zionist entity.

    Hamas said in a statement on the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords that “the Lapid government’s quest to co-opt the Palestinian Authority and its members is suspicious, and we warn the authority not to go along with it.”

    The statement added that “the security coordination policy with the Zionist enemy and the prosecution of our people and activists defending their land and holy sites in the face of settlement and Judaization projects is a crime and a code of conduct that violates all national customs and values and must stop,” stressing that the “masses revolting to defend themselves, their land and holy sites by all available means must not be restricted.”

    The statement renewed its “categorical rejection of all agreements, no matter their source, that do not recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their struggle and Resistance to defend themselves, their land and holy sites, and their right to liberate the land and return to their cities and villages from which they were forcefully displaced, not to mention establishing their independent, fully sovereign state with Al-Quds as its capital.”

    Resistance Committees in Palestine: The Oslo agreement led to the loss of many achievements

    Director of the media office of the Resistance Committees in Palestine, Mohammed Al-Barim “Abu Mujahid”, stressed that “all agreements and conspiracies will not take away or cancel any of our rights or our constant principles and will not give any legitimacy to the existence of the Zionist entity occupying our land.”

    “The Oslo agreement brought disasters and misfortunes to our people and represented a dangerous decline for which the Palestinian cause paid heavy prices and was exploited by the Zionist enemy as a cover for Judaization, settlement, and normalization, whether secret or public,” Al-Barim said.

    He also pointed out that “the Oslo accords led to the loss of many achievements reached by the Palestinian people during the course of their struggle and restricted the march to liberation in light of numerous attempts to end the Resistance, which throughout history has been the conscience of the people and the nation and its legitimate force in the face of the occupation and Zionist aggression.”

    “What is required now is to end the current approach of settlement with the enemy, end all forms of relationship with it, cancel the Oslo Accords, and withdraw recognition of the criminal entity,” he said.

    Al-Ahrar: Vast difference between the Resistance Project and the settlement project

    Al-Ahrar movement said in a statement, “We must work nationally to get rid of the Oslo Accords and its annexes, considering that the first and last beneficiary from them is the Zionist occupation through the abominable security coordination.”

    “The Palestinian negotiator who went alone to conclude this disastrous agreement contrary to the will of our people committed a great sin during which he made more concessions than the occupation expected, so we call for its dissolution and siding with the will of our people to build a national strategy for comprehensive Resistance,” it added.

    “After 29 years of signing this ill-fated agreement, everyone must move to push for a complete revision of this absurd path to abandon and drop the Oslo accords, which has only brought misery to our people,” the statement said.

    The movement pointed out that “there is a difference between the Resistance Project, which has accomplished achievements and succeeded in forcing the occupation out of Gaza, and the frail settlement project, which opened the door wide for the occupation to implement its settlement and Judaization plans to plunder the capabilities of our people, their land and their rights.”

    The movement stressed that “resistance will remain the only way to achieve the unity of our people, end its crises, defeat the occupation and free the land of Palestine, all of Palestine.”

    Mujahideen movement: Oslo is a national sin

    The Palestinian Mujahideen movement said in a statement that “Oslo is a national sin that must be cleansed and dropped, and the defeat of the occupation in Gaza is proof of the effectiveness of the option of Resistance.”

    The movement added that “the fateful Oslo accords were a phase of betrayal to our national cause and opened the doors to all forms of normalization of some Arab regimes with this criminal occupier.”

    The movement stressed that “liberating our land from the occupation can only be by Resistance, not by surrender and concession, and this requires everyone to adopt an inclusive national strategy that supports the option of Resistance and strengthens the resilience of our people in the face of dangers and challenges.”

    25 Palestinians still in occupation prisons 29 years after Oslo

    The Ministry of Prisoners in Gaza said that “25 Palestinians have been imprisoned in occupation cells since before the Oslo Accords, 29 years ago, some even for longer than 35 years.”

    Overthrowing “Oslo” and the Palestinian state… the strategic choice of resistance

    Gilboa Prison Break: The masters of their own jail

    September 6, 2022

    Source: Agencies

    By Rasha Reslan 

    Did you know that in Gilboa Prison, “Israel’s” maximum-security prison, six Palestinian heroes, driven by their thirst for freedom, outlined one of the most epic stories?

    The six Palestinian prisoners are incarcerated in deplorable conditions.

    On Monday morning of September 6, 2021, six Palestinian prisoners carried out a heroic operation to liberate themselves from the Israeli Gilboa prison, one of the most fortified Israeli prisons — nicknamed in “Israel” as the “iron safe”. with determination, they dug a tunnel that led them outside the prison walls. Despite the high-security facility, the six heroes were able to dig their way out of the prison through concrete and metal rebar floors.

    Their will to live freely inspired millions around the world.

    Know their names:

    The six Palestinian heroes, who’ve carried out Operation Freedom Tunnel and showed the world the true meaning of resistance and resilience, are Mahmoud Al-Arida, Zakaria Al-Zubaidi, Yaqoub Qadri, Mohammad Al-Arida, Ayham Kamamji, and Munadel Nafi’at.

    Mahmoud Abdullah Al Arida (46 years old)

    Al-Arida is the architect of the Gilboa prison escape operation – Operation Freedom Tunnel.
    He was born in the town of Arraba, Jenin District. He was arrested for the first time in 1992 and released in 1996, then arrested again in the same year on September 21, 1996.
    He was also sentenced to life in prison, in addition to 15 years, on charges of membership in the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement and participation in resistance operations.
    During his lengthy detention, prisoner Al-Arida was subjected to punishment and restrictive measures, as he was isolated on June 19, 2011, for four months, after which an internal court convened and renewed his isolation for 60 additional days with no justification.  
    Furthermore, the occupation prisons authority re-isolated him on June 11, 2014, upon the discovery of a tunnel in Shatta prison through which he intended to escape.
    In a heartfelt letter to his mother, in which he described his time outside the Gilboa prison before being recaptured, his words had a great impact: “I tried to go to you and embrace you dear mother before you leave this world, but God has decreed for us otherwise.”

    Zakaria Al-Zubaidi (46 years old)

    Born in the Jenin refugee camp, Al-Zubaidi is the former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement. Al-Zubaidi was elected as a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in 2006 and was arrested in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 27, 2019.
    Prior to the prison break, Al-Zubaidi was still detained and no verdict was issued against him after he was charged with being a member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades.

    Mohammad Qassem Al-Arida (39 years old)

    He was born in the town of Arraba, Jenin District. He was arrested in an Israeli ambush on January 7, 2002, then released in mid-March 2002.
    On May 16, 2002, he was besieged and arrested in Ramallah and was sentenced to three life sentences and 20 years in prison.
    Al-Arida said, “My five-day journey through the streets of my country will compensate all the years of detention.”

    Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri (49 years old)

    Qadri was born in the village of Bir Al-Basha, Jenin district. In 2000, he was chased by the occupation. He participated in the battle to defend Jenin camp in 2002 and was arrested on October 18, 2003. In 2004, Qadri was sentenced to two life sentences and 35 years in prison. In 2014, he planned an unsuccessful escape through a tunnel from Shatta prison with a group of prisoners. He said, “A five-day journey is great for a person who has been deprived of everything for 19 years.”

    Ayham Kamamji (35 years old)

    Born in the village of Kafr Dan, Jenin, the occupation began pursuing Kamamji in May 2003 and arrested him on July 4, 2006. He was sentenced to life in prison. Kamamji was the first to respond to the assassination of the martyrdom of the Al-Quds Brigades’ Muhammad Kamil, by carrying out a shooting on an Israeli bus in Ramallah.

    Munadel Nafi’at (26 years old)

    Nafi’at was born in the town of Ya`bad, Jenin district. He was arrested in 2006 and released in 2015. Then, he was re-arrested in 2016 and 2020 on charges of belonging to Saraya Al-Quds (Al-Quds Brigades) — the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement — and participating in resistance operations against the occupation forces.

    It is noteworthy that the Israeli occupation re-arrested Yaqoub Qadri and Mahmoud Al-Arida on September 10, 2021, in occupied Al-Nasira. On September 11, 2021, the occupation re-arrested Zakaria Al-Zubaidi and Mohammad Qassem Al Arida and re-arrested Ayham Kamamji and Munadel Nafi’at on September 19, 2021. 

    “Israel’s” crushed pride

    “The first [goal] was to see my family and live in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority’s protection, and the second was to prove to all Israeli security organizations and the Israeli government that they are a failure. We managed to dig a tunnel from Israel’s most secure prison,” Al Arida said as quoted by Israeli media during his investigation shortly after he was re-arrested after the operation.

    Simultaneously, Israeli media reported the occupation’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked as saying that the Gilboa Prison escape is a serious failure that cannot be covered up, as it exposed a series of failures in the prison service.

    According to Israeli Channel 12, Shaked said she believed that the PM’s decision to form an official inquiry on the Gilboa escape and the prison service’s failure was the right step to take.  
    She also added that the escape has revealed two things: the prison service’s many failures, and the living conditions of the “security prisoners”.
    Israeli Minister of Public Security Omar Bar-Lev considered the operation an immense failure of the Israeli establishment.
    In this context, Knesset Member Amichai Chekli told Channel 13 that “the Gilboa prison escape operation is one of the prison service’s most serious failures.”
    It was also reported by a senior security official that the escape of prisoners from Gilboa reflects a “series of dangerous failures,” noting that estimates reveal that the digging of the tunnel took years, not months.
    On his part, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said “the incident is a serious one”.

    When a hole humiliates “Israel”

    In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen English, the Representative of the Islamic Jihad movement in the Prisoners Committee of the National and Islamic Forces Yaser Mizher commented on the systemic failure of “Israel” by saying, “the six prisoners managed to dig the tunnel over a period of 9 months, demonstrating the fiascoes of the Israeli security establishment”.

    “The six prisoners rubbed the occupation’s nose in the dirt”, he tersely explained.

    “Despite daily security inspections, the Israeli occupation was unable to detect any signs before the operation and was not aware of the prison break until six hours,” he added.

    After the operation, the Israeli enemy mobilized all of its military force to arrest the six heroes over a period of five days, he said.

    “Israel’s” clampdown

    In a blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “Israel” unleashed a wave of torture and abuse against the six Palestinian heroes after their re-arrest, where they are imprisoned under inhumane conditions.

    Mizher told Al Mayadeen English that the six prisoners were subjected to brutal beating which left obvious bruises on their bodies.

    Mizher added that the Israeli occupation has also threatened and arrested the six prisoner’s family members, including the sister and brother of prisoner Mahmoud Al-Arida.

    The current Health conditions of the six prisoners

    Kefah Al-Arida, a former Palestinian prisoner, and cousin of Mahmoud and Mohammad Al-Arida, revealed to Al Mayadeen English the current health situations of the six Palestinian prisoners.

    Kefah divulged that Mohammad Al-Arida is suffering from severe back pain and was given painkillers only after his lawyer pressured the Israeli prison authorities.

    Meanwhile, Zakaria Al-Zubaidi who was severely beaten alongside Mohammad Al-Arida is suffering from a dislocated jaw with no access to medical care, according to Kefah.

    The ex-Palestinian prisoner told Al Mayadeen English that two prisoners, Yaqoub Qadri and Ayham Kamamji, are suffering from critical health issues.

    Kefah revealed that Qadri’s health is further deteriorating since he suffers from a heart condition with no access to medical care, stressing that Qadri also needs surgery. In addition, Kefah also noted that Qadri suffers from dangerous head injuries, due to consistent beatings.

    The ex-prisoner also told Al Mayadeen English that Ayham is suffering from a severe stomach disease with no access to medical care.

    In violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and others, the Israeli occupation pursues a policy of medical neglect against Palestinian prisoners deliberately to aggravate their sufferings, Kefah concluded.

    Solitary confinement

    One of the harshest forms of torture in Israeli prisons is transferring prisoners to solitary confinement.
    After an unjust trial, the six Palestinian prisoners were charged with escaping in October by the Israeli Magistrate’s Court.

    The penalty for fleeing prison, where prisoners are constantly subjected to abuse, mistreatment, and deprivation of their basic human rights, is an additional five years.

    Simultaneously, the Israeli occupation authorities transferred the six Palestinian prisoners to solitary confinement in various prisons.

    since a year ago, the heroes have been incarcerated in deplorable conditions and subjected to inhumane treatment, including arbitrary beatings and denial of family visits.

    They are forcefully cramped in dark cells “unfit for the residing of humans,” subjected to illegal punitive measures, including being tied to their beds for hours or even days at a time, segregation from other prisoners, and subjection to unjustified, non-consensual strip searches. Prisoners prefer sleeping on the floor due to bed bugs festering the mattresses, while the walls are moldy and crumbling, in addition to mice and rats infesting the cells. As they suffer in abysmal conditions, strict routines govern every aspect of their lives.

    Furthermore, Palestinian prisoners suffer from acute mental health problems due to overcrowding and lack of sunlight, especially in solitary confinement. They have little or no access to medical care.

    Types of Solitary confinement in Israeli prisons:

    First type of Solitary confinement

    The first type of solitary confinement is not only the cruelest, most inhumane, and degrading form of punishment, but also a serious form of human rights violation.

    The cell is 180 cm long and 80 cm wide. It has no windows and no toilet. The Israeli occupation usually keeps the prisoner locked inside for 21 days; yet, that period can be extended to 37 days, breaking their own laws.

    The cell has one camera, and it is always directed at the prisoner, leaving no room for privacy whatsoever. 

    In this cell, a prisoner loses the track of time. The prisoner is kept alone in this cell for 24 hours a day.
    The six Palestinian prisons have been transferred to this type of solitary confinement before the Israeli court decision.

    Ex-Palestinian prisoners described this type of solitary confinement as a grave.

    “It doesn’t require much imagination to realize how horrid the situation is: there is no bathroom in solitary confinement, one could barely possess space to breathe, let alone the privilege to use a toilet more than the once-every-6-A.M. per day”, Kefah told Al Mayadeen English.

    “If you are forced to use the cell as a toilet, then you have to stay awake till the next day until they give you little water to clean the cell by yourself, he continued, adding, “this adds up to the culmination of diseases and health issues that the prisoner is already suffering from in the prison”.

    “This is part of a deliberate policy the Israelis use to create a ripple of intended effects on the psyche of the Palestinian prisoner, “he added.

    • Gilboa Prison Break: The masters of their own jailGilboa Prison Break: The masters of their own jail

    Second type of Solitary confinement

    The cell is 250 cm long and 200 cm wide. It has a small window and a toilet. The prisoner’s sentence in this type of solitary confinement is extended every 6 months. The six Israeli prisoners have been in this type of solitary confinement for almost a year now.

    It is worth mentioning that there are two cameras in this cell — one directed toward the prisoners and the other directed toward the toilet. Two prisoners occupy this cell. A prisoner can spend at least 5 years in this type of confinement.

    The prisoner is allowed to spend one hour a day outside the cell. He or she is handcuffed and taken to another room with half a meter concrete window.

    The prisoners are not allowed to wear their own clothing. They are also deprived of family visits, books, and essential personal hygiene products.

    Third type of Solitary confinement

    The cell is 300 cm long and 250 cm wide. It has a small window and a toilet. The prisoner’s sentence in this type of solitary confinement is extended for years. The prisoner is allowed to spend only one hour a day outside the cell. Two prisoners occupy this cell.

    We have seen many examples of how the Israeli entity has been humiliated time and time again, not only by the Gilboa prison break but even by its own crumbling internal politics. Or did their own crumbling internal dilemmas pave the way for the Gilboa break? One thing is certain, “Israel’s” image, no matter how security-tight, will never be the same.

    Read more: Hunger Strikes: Palestinian Prisoners’ Last Resort

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    The Post-Oslo Social Economy: An Analysis

    August 12, 2022

    Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, US President Bill Clinton, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo Accord. (Photo: Vince Musi, via Wikimedia Commons)

    By Omar Zahzah

    “It’s classic Fanon, if you think about it,” Palestinian writer Yara Hawari, Senior Analyst of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network,  remarked in 2018 about the 25th anniversary Oslo Accords.

    “It’s like, Let’s create this class of people that are going to maintain the security of the oppressed or the natives, so that we don’t have to do it.”

    The “class” Hawari refers to here is the Palestinian Authority, that repressive, native informant apparatus whose incarceration and brutalization of its own people and total obedience to the Zionist colonial state was institutionalized through the passage of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Hawari relates the formation of the PA to the underdeveloped national middle-class Fanon describes in “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness,” a class that maintains its material integrity and interests by preserving neo-colonial relations and collaborations with the colonial power.

    Palestinian activist Jamal Juma explains that through the Accords, the PA made it so that Palestinian livelihoods would be controlled by organizations including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and that the division of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C is ultimately guided by a larger strategy of total annexation. 

    An expansive exploration of the former subject, Toufic Haddad’s Palestine, Ltd. demonstrates how Western donor states and financial institutions used the Oslo Accords as a test-case in the exploration of national and governmental forms of arrangement that could be most agreeable to neoliberal capitalist ventures—an insight that suggests how Palestine operates as a “lab” in ways other than the more familiar discussion of the Zionist state honing the weaponry, crowd-control and surveillance tactics that it will eventually export to other nations and corporations upon Palestinian bodies and territories.

    Yet as crucial as these insights are, they are tied to the material components of the Oslo Accords’ disastrous impacts.

    I believe it’s also important to discuss other, more abstract components of the Accords’ destructiveness—components that are not even limited to Palestine alone. Such an undertaking is important, as every attempt to diagnose the true colonial character of our condition brings us one step closer to a potentially liberated–and liberatory–consciousness.

    Emotional and Mental Reproduction

    The physical character of colonial projects may reproduce itself emotionally and mentally, both within the collective morale of the colonized as well as in the minds and hearts of individuals among colonized populations. Thus, it takes no great leap of the imagination to consider that the physical and political fragmentation wrought by the Oslo Accords—the arrogant and arbitrary declaration that a future Palestinian state would only concern those Palestinians presently within colonized and militarily occupied Palestinian territory; the abandonment of the liberation struggle; the creation of a corrupt Palestinian bourgeoisie elite that would profit directly off of oppressing and exploiting its own people–have also reinscribed themselves within the individual Palestinian psyche.

    It also stands to reason that such a reinscription would have profound effects not only upon individual Palestinian morale, but the activism (and here I deploy this term intentionally) that followed in the wake of the Oslo Accords.

    My subject of analysis is a particular type of activism (again, used here to describe a mindset and various forms of prioritization) that values the individual reputation, ego, “brand,” politics, over, or at the complete exclusion of, the larger liberation struggle as well as the need for mutual and collective struggle among our people. One person or organization becomes the default representative of the Palestinian cause, and rather than seeing others involved in the same struggle as comrades, all become competitors in a cheap struggle for “authenticity.” 

    Collectivity shifts from a strength to a liability, as the plurality of voices and approaches so integral to the health of any veritable liberation movement becomes crowded out by the cultural lure of being the default Palestinian voice, the Palestinian activist, the Palestinian intellectual, and so on, as opposed to one among many.

    Anti-colonial criticality becomes redirected towards liberal policy analysis and so-called “thought leadership” that takes for granted and even benefits from the perseverance of structures and systems that need to be destroyed rather than sustained. But even a more critical posture is not necessarily indicative of having transcended this status quo, as being the most radical presence can become commodified as its own, cynical show of competition.  

    It is no longer the Palestinian struggle that is engaged, in its entirety and contradictions, but a sanitized version that is repackaged and sold to a target audience. The fragmentation imposed upon our struggle by our colonizers and the so-called leadership among our people that willfully collaborate with them for their own personal gain is restaged in this competition, and fragmentation itself becomes incentivized rather than challenged.

    All oppositional forces, from our colonizers to their imperialist allies, would like nothing more than for us to remain scattered, to remain fragmented, so it is natural that we would find ourselves in systems and situations where attacking one another as a way of building ourselves up is encouraged, however indirectly.

    What is Meant By Social Economy

    An “economy” typically implies a system of relation and exchange. Thus to refer to the phenomenon in question as a “social economy” might seem a strange choice of words. But through this formulation we are considering the ways in which social relations themselves are conditioned by economic processes—the way, for example, personal and professional relationships become distorted by capitalistic notions of profit, productivity, and artificial scarcity, or how neoliberal belief systems encourage a “buffet” style approach to issues of oppression that says holding a marginalized identity in and of itself entails liberatory intentions (Mahmoud Abbas should be a sufficient enough refutation of this regressive political tendency.)

    In our example, political work becomes imperceptibly overtaken by for-profit incentives of competition, false scarcity, and exclusion, and a cause that is at heart a collective struggle for anti-colonial liberation becomes nothing more than a means of self-promotion and advancement. To the extent that rampant NGOization both in Palestine and internationally diverts liberation-focused efforts to reformist ones sharply limited by strings-attached funding and siphons the intellect and creativity of organizers into bureaucratic demands such as fundraising and donor relationship building, we cannot ignore the interplay between compromised institutions, predatory economic subjugation, and political mercurialness.

    Good Faith and the Unconscious

    However, while such engagement may at times be informed by a willful disregard, our experiences suggest that such a state of affairs is more likely to be reinforced unconsciously. Thus, even in the most intense moments of seeming competition and disagreement, the possibility of good faith should always be presumed.

    One imperfect yet nevertheless amelioratory practice given this state of affairs is to insist upon intentional and conscientious distinctions between the grassroots and non-profit spheres. To be sure, there is overlap, but to consciously present non-profits as the grassroots would ultimately water down grassroots work with the demands, limitations, and restrictions of non-profit bureaucracy. 

    In the interim to the complete dissolution to the non-profit system, one important approach is to navigate non-profit spaces with an awareness of these material distinctions and always ask oneself (and one’s organization(s)) how best to utilize the resources and networks of the non-profit milieu to amplify the grassroots without restriction whenever possible. 

    It would be a far simpler task if the Oslo Accords had resulted in a generation of self-interested activists and organizations competitively profiting off of their Palestinian “brands,” for better or worse, but this is not what I’m arguing. The reality is murkier, and more difficult to define, but ultimately what I’m suggesting is that various factors, including the overemphasis on the individual within settler-colonial/capitalist US nationalist ethos, as well as the myriad forms of fragmentation inflicted upon us through the Oslo Accords, are themselves internalized and re-staged within US activist scenes, but often at the level of general instinct and impression. 

    Various social and symbolic norms make it so that certain actions and attitudes are simply felt to come more naturally than others. This is the case with capitalism in general, which presents a complete distortion of social relations and attachments as so-called “reality,” “nature,” “society,” and so on. Our colonial condition, while in some ways more particular, nevertheless operates with similar effect: the horizon of possibility is increasingly depleted by shrinking borders and an abdication of responsibility and dedication to the struggle.

    The Way(s) Forward

    There is no one set “solution” to such a state of affairs, but as individualism and competition are the scourges, approaches that center collaboration and mutual uplift obviously should be prioritized. To that extent, continually engaging in (and presuming) good faith from others—with the exception of crossing red lines about Zionism and normalization—should be standardized. But even when it comes to these red lines, it is crucial to be able to name exhaustive standards for Zionism and normalization, as well as to establish and maintain cultures of principled political commitment.

    At this point, it ought to be far from politically controversial to say that the Zionist entity has no right to exist, should never have existed and in fact, should not exist even now; that Palestinians have the right to all forms of resistance until total return and liberation, and that all of the Zionist entity is, in fact, occupied Palestine, an alien construction upon stolen land and lives that needs to be destroyed in the lead-up to comprehensive Palestinian liberation and reparations.

    Explicitly naming competitions and turf wars as reflective of the Oslo Accords rather than feeding into them can at times aid in refocusing efforts towards the larger struggle and collective betterment, though this is not always a guarantee.

    At the root of the issue is the need to operate with a sense of Movement rather than individualism or activism, and always begin from a position of helping the collective cause rather than advancing individual gains. The struggle is hurt by our fragmentation, though it’s important to resist the cynical cooptation of this principle as a means of encouraging tolerance of any and all political lines within our spaces and wider networks (such as normalization of the Zionist entity, including acceptance of the Palestinian “Authority’s” security coordination).

    For the purpose is to rekindle and preserve a sense of collective identity and resistance that operates within a genuinely anti-colonial frame, rather than accepting our colonization as an inevitability, or even past event.   

    – Omar Zahzah is the Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Eyewitness Palestine as well as a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Omar is also an independent scholar, writer and poet and holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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