PA security services seize hundreds of weapons in West Bank

Forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas continue to thwart attacks against Israelis, often by standing between Palestinian protesters and the IDF

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

Illustrative: Palestinian police in the West Bank (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian police in the West Bank (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority security forces have confiscated hundreds of illegal weapons in expansive operations carried out in recent weeks in the West Bank.

In targeting a different area with each raid, PA forces have succeeded in seizing a significant number of arms, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Most notable among those were “Carlos” guns — crude, homemade but lethal submachine guns that have been used to carry out numerous terror attacks over the past several years.

At the same time, the forces loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas have continued their arrests of terror suspects, primarily Hamas activists, but also those aligned with the Islamic State terror group and other extremist organizations. They have succeeded in thwarting attacks both in the West Bank and in Israel proper.

The PA forces have also proven to be aggressive in their efforts to quash violent protests by Palestinian youths against the IDF, according to officials on both sides.

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to throw stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes in Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to throw stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes in Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 11, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is reportedly overseeing the activities of the authority’s forces and holding regular talks with security chiefs.

These efforts are part of the PA’s deliberate decision to prevent an escalation on the ground, amid a 25-day hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails that has sparked low-level unrest throughout the West Bank.

The security services have thus far managed on numerous occasions to divert demonstrations aimed at direct confrontations with the IDF to areas where there is no Israeli presence, the sources said.

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