PA Forces Surround PFLP Shechem Cell as Annapolis Approaches

Is it real or another stage production? No casualties have been recorded yet in the standoff between PA and PFLP at Shechem, now in Day Two.

Gil Ronen ,

A stand-off between Palestinian Authority (PA) forces and terrorists affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in a neighborhood near Shechem, in Samaria, entered its second day Monday. No casualties have been reported.

"If this fighting is fake then they are doing a very good job of faking," WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein, who has been speaking to some of the Arab combatants, told IsraelNationalNews. "It looks like the PA wants to have something to bring to the Annapolis summit, some proof that they are fulfilling their end of the Road Map. If they don't get what they want, however, then they'll free all of the men they arrested by next week."

Klein added: "The United States has observers on the ground in Shechem and they are watching very closely, so it would be hard for them to fake this fighting. However, no one has gotten killed so it seems they are not putting up much of a fight."

PFLP leaders holed up
Local PFLP leader Jamil Mizhir is quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news service as saying that some of the group's leaders are still holed up in Ein Beit El-Ma neighborhood of Shechem, where they have been besieged by Fatah forces since Sunday. He accused the PA security forces of "trying to achieve what the Israeli forces failed to achieve when they besieged the refugee camp and attempted to arrest those leaders."

Three hundred PA gunmen were deployed in Shechem earlier this month, as part of a US-backed multimillion dollar plan to establish order and dismantle armed terror gangs in and around the city.

Mizhir said the siege by what he called "[PA Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad's security services" was in line with Interior Minister Abdur Razzaq Al-Yahya's pledge Sunday to dismantle the military wings of the lo
PA security forces of "trying to achieve what the Israeli forces failed to."
cal Arab factions.

Minister 'obeying orders from Americans'
Mizhir said the PA Interior Minister was "obeying orders" he received from the American Security Coordinator Keith Dayton to implement the first stage of the Road Map peace plan, a plan Mizhir said aims to end the local Arabs' war against Israel.

The PA security forces were ordered into the neighborhood on Sunday morning by Shechem governor Jamal Al-Muhaissen. The PFLP claimed the PA was hunting for four of their activists and one gunman from Fatah. The five men are allegedly wanted for firing into the air during a ceremony in remembrance of the PFLP's "martyrs."

A PFLP spokeman said, however, that PA gunmen had never issued an order not to fire into the air during celebrations, and accused the PA of seeking to arrest terrorists who are wanted by the Israeli intelligence services.

'Intifada has been disastrous'
Uniformed PA troops were seen closing off the entrance to the neighborhood and taking up positions on the roofs of the taller buildings. A high-ranking PA military source told Ma'an that the PA militia is not besieging the whole neighborhood, but "are going after a specific group of 'law breakers' and will continue to besiege their houses until they turn themselves over."

Interior Minister Al-Yahya pledged on Sunday that he would disband all local Arab military factions, including the Al-Aqsa Brigades, affiliated with his own ruling Fatah party.

Al-Yahya said that the last seven years of armed Intifada, or uprising, have been "disastrous" for the situation of Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Al-Yahya, a former commander of the Palestine Liberation Army, told Kuwaiti newspaper Ar-Rai: "The security plan in the Palestinian territories is progressing in parallel steps in armament, training and restructuring the security headquarters and prisons. At the same time, Hamas' and other groups' weapons are being collected."