Palestinians: When the Mountain of Fire Erupts
by Khaled Abu Toameh
August 25, 2016
Hours after his security officers lynched a detainee, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinian businessmen living abroad to support the Palestinian economy by investing in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority (PA), he asserted, was “working to provide security and safety to encourage investment.”
According to Abbas, “The Palestinian territories are living in a state of security stability, which we are working to provide for residents and investors alike by enforcing the rule of law and enhancing transparency and accountability.”
It must be nice to create your own reality, especially if your true reality is that of the 81-year-old Abbas.
In his speech before the businessmen, Abbas neglected any reference to the latest wave of “security chaos” in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, specifically Nablus, the largest Palestinian city.
Five Palestinians, including two PA police officers, were killed in the worst scenes of internecine violence to hit the West Bank in recent years. Abbas was either playing the businessmen for fools or hoping that they share his deaf and blind state.
The violence in Nablus did not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring the situation in the West Bank in recent months.
In fact, scenes of lawlessness and “security chaos” have become part of the norm in many Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps — a sign that the PA may be losing control to armed gangs and militias. Palestinians refer to the situation as falatan amni, or “security chaos.” An article published in Gatestone in June referred to the growing instances of anarchy and lawlessness in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, first and foremost Nablus.
Palestinians refer to Nablus as the “Mountain of Fire” — a reference to the countless armed attacks carried out against Israelis by residents of the city since 1967. Current events in Nablus, however, have shown how easily fire burns the arsonist. The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as “heroes” and “resistance fighters.” Unsurprisingly, most of these “outlaws” and “criminals” (as the PA describes them) are affiliated in one way or another with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
Nablus, the so-called Mountain of Fire, is now threatening to turn into a volcano that is set to erupt in the face of Abbas and his PA government.
The situation in Nablus the past few days raises serious questions about the ability of the PA to perform basic security measures and rein in armed gangs and militiamen. Moreover, the unprecedented violence has further shattered Palestinian confidence in the PA and its leaders ahead of the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8.