Mahmoud Abbas to pay rare visit to Jenin on Wednesday

The PA leader has only visited the West Bank city twice since his election 18 years ago


BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 16: Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, speaks to the media with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) following talks at the Chancellery on August 16, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. The two leaders discussed bilateral issues, the current situation in the Palestinian territories as well as perspectives on a possible peace process between Palestine and Israel. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(JNS) Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas will make a rare visit to Jenin on Wednesday, a week after the Israel Defense Forces concluded a major counterterrorism operation in the city.

Abbas was also considering entering Jenin's refugee camp, often referred to by Palestinians as the "Martyr's Capital," according to Kan News.

Palestinians reported the deployment of officers from the PA Presidential Guard in the UN-administered camp ahead of Abbas's expected arrival from Ramallah by Jordanian helicopter later on Wednesday.

The delegation will also include PLO Secretary General Hussein al-Sheikh and Majed Faraj, head of the PA General Intelligence Service. Among other local officials, the men are scheduled to meet with Akram Rajoub, the PA-appointed governor of Jenin.

Wednesday's visit would mark Abbas's second official trip to Jenin since being elected P.A. chairman 18 years ago, with his last known public tour of the city having taken place in the summer of 2012.

Recent polling shows that the 87-year-old Abbas is deeply unpopular among Palestinians, who increasingly support armed terrorist groups.

Speaking on CNN last weekend, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that the leadership in Ramallah "has lost its credibility," explaining that the P.A. had created a "vacuum for extremism."

In the early hours of Monday, July 3, the IDF sent more than 1,000 troops into Jenin in a major counterterror operation. During the 48-hour raid, Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians and arrested more than 100 terror suspects.

However, hundreds of armed terrorists escaped the city to avoid engaging the IDF's brigade-sized force of special units. 

As Israeli troops withdrew, Jenin's mayor instructed local terrorist groups to operate with caution. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Nidal Al-Obeidi warned that the army's departure might be part of a "tactical plan to target resistance fighters after the end of the operation."

On Sunday, Israel's Security Cabinet voted in favor of a series of economic and defense measures to boost the PA "Israel will act to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, while demanding that it cease its anti-Israel activity in the international legal-diplomatic arena, the incitement in its media and education system, the payments to the families of terrorists and murderers, and the illegal construction in Area C," the government said following the vote.

The PA has rejected Jerusalem's demands, with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh saying that payments to the families of terrorists and the pursuit of the Jewish state in international forums would continue.

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