Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian security unit near Nilin, west of Ramallah, in a clear message to the Palestinian Authority (PA), as it also continues to prevent Palestinian forces from operating outside ‘Area A’ of the West Bank.
The Israeli unit detained at least ten security men while they were trying to arrest a number of wanted persons who hid in a car wash.
Nilin mayor Imad al-Khawaja said that the Israeli force that raided the area, detained the Palestinian security vehicle and took its members to a military checkpoint.
This is the first time, since ending the security coordination between Tel Aviv and the PA in May, that Israel has arrested Palestinian security men while on an official duty.
The arrest seems an Israeli message to the Authority that it is forbidden to operate in Areas B and C in the West Bank, under Israeli control.
The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three regions: Area A under Palestinian security and civil control, Area B under Israeli security and Palestinian civil control, and Area C under Israeli security and civil control. Area C alone is about two-thirds of the area of the West Bank.
A source in the Palestinian security services told Asharq Al-Awsat that Israel wants to destroy and weaken the PA.
He indicated that Israeli forces raid cities and arrest security men while on duty to weaken the authority, a policy followed by the occupation forces even before the security coordination stopped between the two.
The source stressed that the Palestinian security forces will continue their work in the areas under their control, and will not hesitate to pursue fugitives in 'Area C'.
The Authority launched a massive campaign in September to control the security situation in the West Bank, as officials accuse external and internal forces of spreading chaos for political purposes.
The Authority began this campaign after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree amending the Firearms and Ammunition Law, which increased penalties on possession, use, trafficking, manufacture and smuggling of firearms.
The decision was issued amid deteriorating security, economic and financial situation, and major regional changes that may create security threats.
The amendment also came after an increase in the use of firearms in different occasions in the West Bank, such as weddings or funerals and celebrations for the release of a prisoner, some of which caused the death of bystanders.
Bethlehem governor Major General Kamel Hamid said that the use of weapons in conflicts and family disputes is a dangerous and unacceptable phenomenon, calling for eradicating it before it leads to more bloodshed.
Hamid stressed that everyone is required to join efforts to provide security, safety and the rule of law.
The Palestinian police have recorded 43 murders since the beginning of the year, compared to 25 last year.