Police are reportedly probing three members of the fringe anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta who entered the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank earlier this week and met with Palestinians from local terror groups.
The men, residents of Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, were filmed meeting with prominent Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group officials as well as families of terrorist attackers on Monday. Jenin is seen as a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism.
The Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday that the men could face lengthy prison spells if convicted of supporting terror. Israeli civilians are also barred from entering Area A of the West Bank where Jenin is located, as it is under the Palestinian Authority’s civilian and security control under the Oslo Accords.
Neturei Karta opposes the modern State of Israel on religious grounds, regularly protesting against the Jewish state, and has met with Holocaust deniers and leaders of the Iranian government in the past.
The Neturei Karta members were photographed wearing scarves with Palestinian national colors and carrying Palestinian flags.
A video shared on social media showed them visiting the home of senior PIJ official senior official Bassam al-Saadi, who is in jail in Israel. Saadi’s detention last year sparked a round of fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
בלב מחנה הפליטים ג׳נין: משלחת של הפלג החרדי-הקיצוני נטורי קרתא תועדה עם דגלי אש"ף pic.twitter.com/FSA57Vp9hT
— ספיר ליפקין | Sapir Lipkin | سابير ليبكين (@sapirlipkin) January 9, 2023
Another video showed the pair at the entrance to the Jenin refugee camp along with former terror inmate Maher al-Akhras, who is also tied to PIJ.
Akhras, who in 2020 went on hunger strike for more than 100 days to protest his detention by Israeli authorities, is seen praising the two visitors for not recognizing the State of Israel.
Channel 12 news reported that local gunmen tried to harm the delegation, but were prevented from doing so.
הבוקר במחנה הפליטים בג'נין: נטורי קרתא. הגיעו כדי לבקר את משפחתו של בכיר הג'יהאד האסלאמי העצור בישראל, בסאם א סעדי pic.twitter.com/EbNym6JHB1
— Carmel Dangor כרמל דנגור (@carmeldangor) January 9, 2023
Saadi, 61, has been jailed by Israel seven times over the years, according to the Shin Bet.
He was arrested on August 1 by Israeli troops in Jenin. The PIJ at the time announced it was declaring a state of alert, and the Israel Defense Forces said it had “concrete” indications of an “imminent” attack on the Gaza border, putting the area on lockdown for several days.