In Jenin, Palestinian Gunmen Reluctant to Abandon Uprising

(Washington Post) Scott Wilson - Jenin is at the center of efforts by PA Chairman Abbas to merge armed groups across the West Bank into a police force capable of enforcing law and order in the Palestinian territories. Yet Palestinian officials expressed doubt that the men of the uprising would trade the grim allure of guerrilla warfare for the drudgery of walking a beat, especially when polls show that 60% of Palestinians favor maintaining the armed groups as a way to pressure Israel. Zakaria Zbeida, the Jenin leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of Fatah, commands more than 200 armed men. He and his fighters have signed up to join the police force, but none has actually done so. The other armed factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will remain largely outside the new security arrangement. Sometime after Aug. 15, Israeli forces are scheduled to begin evacuating about 700 Israelis from the Ganim and Kadim settlements, just a few miles east of Jenin. Israeli military officials say the communities have begun taking nightly rifle fire.

2005-07-02 00:00:00

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