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Israel said to hand over 2 Palestinians wanted by Ramallah

Suspects were detained in Israel after allegedly attacking PA security forces amid ongoing popular unrest

File: Palestinian policemen in the West Bank town of Nablus (AP Photo / Nasser Ishtayeh)
File: Palestinian policemen in the West Bank town of Nablus (AP Photo / Nasser Ishtayeh)

Israel this week handed over two Palestinians wanted by Ramallah to Palestinian security forces, according to a report Wednesday.

Kan news said the two are suspected of attacking Palestinian police in the Bethlehem area earlier this month, hurling an explosive device at them. The incident occurred during local celebrations for the release of a security prisoner by Israel, when Palestinian forces arrived to confiscate Hamas flags waved at the event., leading to some rioting.

The two suspects were arrested in Israel in recent days for entering illegally. They were handed over to the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday, the report said.

Kan noted that while Israel hands over suspects wanted by the PA from time to time, such steps are usually taken quietly.

The West Bank has recently seen an uptick in violent clashes between Palestinians on the streets and PA security forces.

The Palestinian Authority has suffered deteriorating legitimacy for months. In April, PA President Mahmoud Abbas indefinitely delayed scheduled Palestinian national elections that would have been the first in 15 years. While Abbas blamed Israel, most observers agreed that he sought to avoid an embarrassing loss to his rivals in his own Fatah faction and Hamas.

Hamas saw skyrocketing approval ratings among Palestinians following its May battle with Israel. Palestinians contrasted the so-called “resistance” pursued by the terror group — which fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities and towns from its Gaza stronghold — with Ramallah’s policy of coordinating with Israel, which many Palestinians say has failed to achieve their demands.

Israeli officials have vowed to strengthen the Palestinian Authority by easing its ballooning deficit and making some policy concessions. But none of the steps taken thus far appear to have shored up the PA’s waning popularity.

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