Two Palestinian Arab men who were fleeing for their lives in Samaria (Shomron) late Monday night found shelter in the Israeli community of Beit Aryeh.
The two approached Israeli residents at the gates of the community and explained that they were being pursued by members of the Palestinian Authority security forces. The PA officers were planning to kill them, they said.
Residents called security guards to the scene. The guards searched the two men for weapons and then brought them into the town.
Security forces then searched the area for the alleged would-be killers. They found four Palestinian Arab men waiting nearby with loaded weapons; the four presented themselves as members of the PA police special forces.
Their presence violated Israel-PA agreements, under which PA police are not allowed to patrol with loaded weapons on Israeli-controlled land (known as Area C) in Judea and Samaria.
“We’re used to helping Palestinians in various situations, but we’ve never seen something like this before,” said Avi Naim, head of the Regional Council. Israelis living in Beit Aryeh have good ties with their Palestinian Arab neighbors, he noted, and Jews and Arabs in the area often invite one another to various celebrations and events.
The recent incident is cause for concern, he warned.
“Palestinians being chased by a team of assassins, apparently belonging to the PA police, and finding shelter in a Jewish town,” he said. “I very much hope this isn’t a sign of things to come in Judea and Samaria.”
“Livni and Kerry – you’ve been warned,” he added.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and United States Secretary of State John Kerry are working to push forward a diplomatic agreement between Israel and the PA. Under each of the proposed agreements the PA security forces would take primary responsibility for maintaining order in much of Judea and Samaria.