The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security system fears that violence and anarchy will ensue from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and Israel also fears that violence from the PA will be directed against it.
TPS has learned that Tanzim operatives on Monday night set up a barrier on a main route in the Qalandiya refugee camp neighborhood, located in the Palestinian Authority, near Jerusalem. The barrier is designed to prevent the movement of residents from Kfar Aqab, which is in Israeli territory and part of Jerusalem, but on the “other side” of the security wall.
In Qalandiya, there is growing concern that residents from the nearby neighborhoods will infect the residents of the neighborhood. In response, Fatah established a local guard with dozens of volunteers and Tanzim activists who are preventing movement in the area to stem the spread of the virus.
In response to the blockade on the main route, six local criminals fired at Tanzim activists in the neighborhood and at residents. “The perpetrators fired in all directions and did not refrain from firing at elders,” P.I., an eyewitness told TPS.
Following the shooting, the neighborhood leaders summoned the PA security forces, and the PA dispatched “Unit 101” from Jericho. Residents report that the unit is working to restore order.
TPS has learned that armed groups and families from the neighborhoods near Ramallah have posed an ultimatum to Fatah members in Qalandiya and have demanded that they remove the checkpoints, which prevent the opening of shops and the movement of vehicles from eastern Jerusalem to the areas of the PA area.
In a proclamation circulated in the camp, Fatah officials said they will defend the residents.
“We acted against the drug dealers on our own and even against the occupation,” the proclamation said, “and we will not hesitate to protect our people from the Coronavirus.”
These families, according to Fatah operatives, have 2,000 weapons and recently purchased them from a crime family in Ramla.
“Kfar Aqab has become a drug lair and is controlled by the local mafia, which focuses on smuggling goods and car theft. The weapon will be directed against Israel that refrains from entering the area,” said a Fatah activist.
Last week, Abdullah Luzi, one of the Fatah leaders in the Ramallah area, told TPS that the organization is demanding that Israel close all the crossings in the Jerusalem area, and especially the Qalandiya crossing.
Luzi threatened that “Fatah will work to allow only medical teams with special permits to move into PA areas and will try to prevent the movements of eastern Jerusalem residents through the crossings into PA areas.”
Public figures from eastern Jerusalem are trying to prevent further deterioration and so are the PA’s intelligence mechanisms. TPS was told by a source in the PA that Fatah was recruited several days ago to act in defense of the PA and is working under “emergency committees” and in coordination with PA intelligence.
Meanwhile, though things are getting worse, residents are complaining about the functioning of the Civil Administration and the lack of response to civil matters.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Minister referred TPS for responses to the Ministry of Internal Security due to their responsibility for these issues. The Ministry of Internal Security said that the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) should be contacted.
It should be noted that no response was received from the Civil Administration, which. No comments were received from the COGAT.