Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
A Fatah rally in Gaza. Jan. 1, 2020

In recent days, manifestations of anarchy in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have multiplied in the shadow of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the lack of payment of salaries to PA employees, the lack of security coordination between Israel and the PA, and in the wake of power struggles within the PA.

In a particularly serious incident, the Fatah secretary in the town of Balata in Nablus was erroneously killed Saturday night by PA security forces while they were working to close a supermarket that operated in the town contrary to the Corona-related guidelines.

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Following the death, dozens of residents gathered and shouted, “Abu Amid, we will redeem you with spirit and blood,” and the governor of the Nablus district announced that “the incident will be investigated.” PA head Mahmoud Abbas also intervened and ordered the investigation to be expedited.

In another serious incident in Jenin, masked gunmen conducted a field trial for a child suspected of theft. Only the intervention of the residents of the neighborhood saved him from severe punishment.

Members of the Ta’amara tribe near Bethlehem gathered in the village and demanded that the killers of a member of the tribe be punished and held a demonstration led by armed men.

A Fatah source told TPS that since four governors of the districts of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah, decided to violate the PA’s directives regarding the Corona, as part of the PA’s power struggles, the security forces are having a hard time enforcing authority over the residents.

With the start of the second wave of the virus, the PA government, through its security mechanisms, has taken a hard line on punishing residents who violate the guidelines, and began closing businesses and factories that did not comply with the guidelines and imposed high fines. However, these measures did not lead to the public’s compliance with the health guidelines, and even contributed to increased protests.

The second wave of Corona plaguing the PA is intensifying with a 25-fold increase in the number of patients and a 30-fold increase in the number of dead, and is one of the main causes of protest on the Palestinian street coming out against the Corona guidelines which hinder trade and livelihood.

At the same time, the Authority is experiencing difficulty in controlling Area C, where it operated in the first wave and in coordination with Israel. Now, due to the severance of coordination with Israel, it has difficulty operating in these areas.

Following the publication of the new restrictions, representatives of the trade and business organizations protested and decided to oppose the Prime Minister’s Shtaye’s decision and have opened trade in the cities. A number of sectors have announced that they will act in violation of the regulations. For example, the General Association of Public Transportation Workers announced that it is not committed to decisions according to which public transportation drivers must stay in their homes and not go to work.

The Palestinian Authority two weeks ago had to turn to the heads of families and clans in all areas of the PA to ask them to tell the public to obey the instructions of the government and security forces. Clan leaders circulated leaflets on the matter and called on the public to obey.

The PA’s Ministry of Health has repeatedly complained that residents of the Hebron district are not complying with the guidelines despite being a focal point of infections.

Against the background of the turbulent developments in the PA, arrests among the protest movements have also increased, and more than 20 social protest activists who came out against the Palestinian Authority were arrested last week. Their families held demonstrations in El Bira and Ramallah on Sunday.

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