(Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
On 24 August, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas condemned the Palestinian Authority (PA) for releasing the culprits who last month attempted to assassinate Nasser al-Shaer, a Hamas leader and former deputy prime minister.
On 22 July, gunmen fired multiple rounds at al-Shaer, hitting his legs with seven bullets and crushing one of his knees.
Hamas Political Bureau member Hussam Badran said the PA’s failure to deliver justice to the “criminals” involved in the attempted murder “has dangerous consequences.”
“The PA’s failure to prosecute the criminals proves that it is evading its pledge – to enforce the law and hold the criminals accountable,” he warned during a press conference.
Bardan added that the PA’s dereliction of duty over such an important criminal matter could potentially lead to chaos and the dissolution of the West Bank’s “social fabric.”
According to local reports, many Palestinians suspect that Shaer’s assassination attempt was orchestrated by the PA, following his successful deescalation of tensions between Fatah and Hamas supporters among Al-Najah University students.
Two weeks prior, Senior PA-affiliated Fatah officials expressed their dissatisfaction with the growing influence of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the West Bank.
In an interview with Israeli media on 13 August, Fatah official Jamal Tirawi said Hamas and PIJ could easily exploit Fatah’s weakness and shortcomings to gain West Bank Palestinian support.
Tirawi explained that Fatah’s security coordination with Israeli forces – all while Palestinians are battered by their occupiers on a daily basis – has severely eroded the legitimacy of the Fatah-controlled PA.
“In the eyes of many Palestinians, the PA’s role has been limited to issuing traffic tickets, carrying out some arrests [of dissidents], and collecting taxes,” Tirawi added.
In early January, an Israeli official revealed that PA forces carried out raids in the West Bank city of Jenin at the direct request of Israeli forces.
Experts suggest that the PA regularly coordinates with Israel, has been accused of being an extension of the occupation, as well as a tool to assist Israel in its oppression of Palestinians.