Islamic Jihad terrorists
Islamic Jihad terrorists Reuters

The Islamic Jihad terrorist group is accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) of arresting and harassing its members in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.

In a statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency, the group said that PA security forces had arrested Islamic Jihad members in Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah, and Hevron governorates.

The statement alleged that the PA had summoned students and activists affiliated with Islamic Jihad and threatened to imprison them if they partake in political or student activities.

The statement also accused PA security forces of targeting Palestinians formerly held in Israeli prisons, according to Ma’an.

"Summoning prisoners after they have been freed from Israeli jails poses a question mark over how serious the PA is about defending Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody," the statement said.

PA security forces have been arresting members of rival groups in recent weeks, especially cracking down on Hamas supporters within its borders. 

The crackdown began after Fatah's defeat in student elections at Birzeit University in April. 

This is not the first arrest made since the student vote. PA government worker Khalil Ali Afaneh was arrested last month for claiming Fatah's ideological leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat was "not a martyr" in a Facebook comment on his niece's post about the vote. 

The unrest follows growing tensions between Hamas and Fatah, most recently a series of assassination attempts and bombings targeting Fatah and Hamas officials both in Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria, in what appears to be a growing resurgence of violent conflict between the two factions.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the PA security services in the Judea and Samaria, Major-General Adnan Dmeiri, told Ma'an Sunday that the security services "never arrest any Palestinian because of affiliation to a political party or due to their political point of view."

He said that all arrests were due to "criminal activity," and that the judiciary system had "the final say in any charges, as according to the Palestinian penal code."

Dmeiri also suggested that there had been fewer arrests than was widely suggested.

He accused Hamas and other political factions of "circulating black propaganda to protect their members who are involved in illegal activities."