This headline from Israel’s Jerusalem Post tells only part of the story: “Lion’s Den, Endless Headaches for Another Palestinian Group.”
Both Israeli and Palestinian authorities are equally concerned about the possibility of an armed uprising in the occupied West Bank, and it is true that the Lion’s Den, a newly formed brigade in Nablus, is a hotbed of these youths-Directed movement.
But the rise of armed resistance in the West Bank is not just a “headache” for Tel Aviv and Ramallah. If it continues to rise, it could threaten the survival of the PA, as Israel will have to make its most difficult choice since the 2002 capture of a major Palestinian city in the West Bank.
While Israeli military commanders continue to undermine the power of the new group, there appears to be a lack of clear understanding of its roots, power and future impact.
In a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz claimed that the Lion’s Den is “a group of 30” and will eventually be destroyed. “We will get to the terrorists,” he said.
However, Lion’s Den is not an isolated case, but part of a wider phenomenon involving the Nablus Brigade, the Jenin Brigade and other groups based mainly in West Bank.
The group, along with other armed Palestinian military units, played an active role in killing Palestinians, including children, the elderly, and even Palestinian doctor Abdullah Abu Altin, who died of his wounds on October 14. from Janine. Since the beginning of this year, more than 170 Palestinians have died in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Palestinian response was to kill two Israeli soldiers in Shuaf on 8 October and one near Nablus on 11 October.
Following the attack on Suapat, Israel completely closed the Suapt refugee camp as a form of collective punishment similar to the recent siege of Jenin and other Palestinian towns.
All against Lion’s Den
The Palestinian Arab newspaper al-Quds, citing Israeli Hebrew media, reported that Israeli forces will launch an operation targeting the lion’s den in the coming weeks. Thousands of Israeli occupation forces could be deployed in the West Bank for the next conflict. It is hard to imagine that Israel will mobilize a significant part of its army to fight 30 Palestinian fighters in Nablus.
But not only Israel, but also the PA are very worried. The authorities tried to lure the fighters by offering a “deal” to surrender, but they laid down their arms and joined PA forces. These deals have brought varying degrees of success to fighters from Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the past.
This time the strategy didn’t work. The group rejected the PA offer and forced Ibrahim Ramadan, the Fatah governor of Nablus, to attack the fighter’s mothers. Similar to the language used by Israelis and pro-Israeli people to describe Palestinian society, the language of Ramadan highlights the growing gap between the PA’s political discourse and Palestinian discourse in general.
The PA not only loses this event, but also loses all control they had over the West Bank, especially Nablus and Jenin. A senior Palestinian official told Media Line that the Palestinians “don’t trust us anymore because they see us as an extension of Israel.” True, this mistrust has built up over the years.