Among Palestinians, end of prisoner run reopened trial in loyalty to Arab Israelis

A Palestinian holds up a poster featuring the six escaped from an Israeli prison in Jenin camp on September 6, 2021.

LETTER FROM JERUSALEM

Almost two weeks on the run, a Stations of the Cross then a cold shower. The arrest of the six Palestinian detainees who escaped from the Israeli prison in Gilboa on September 10, 11 and 18 aroused immense disappointment among Palestinians. According to lawyers for two of the men, who have been erected as national heroes, the group apparently had no plan once the walls of the penitentiary were crossed. The first four, arrested after five days, failed to cross into the West Bank, and wandered in small groups in the countryside, feeding on berries, struggling to find water.

With their ears glued to a radio to follow the news of their hunt, they obviously did not receive support from their organizations (Fatah and Islamic Jihad, a small group dedicated to violent action). In the vicinity of Nazareth, two of them tried to look for food from residents, according to the Israeli authorities. They were captured near Mount Precipice, south of the city.

The most famous of them, Zakaria Zubeidi, former boss of the Fatah brigades in Jenin, in northern Cijsordania, during the second Intifada (2000-2005), was found shortly after, dehydrated, in a parking lot in the is from Nazareth. His lawyer said the men who arrested him broke his jaw and two ribs while he was handcuffed. The last two were arrested in Jenin on Saturday, September 18. They were hiding outside the city’s refugee camp, which had been at war for two weeks, and surrendered without resistance.

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But the hardest thing, for Palestinian opinion, is that residents of Nazareth, an Arab city of Israel, who had seen them during their wandering, facilitated their capture, according to the Israeli police, thus betraying the national cause. “For four days the fugitives believed they would get help and support from Arab Israelis, and they were wrong,” welcomed Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev on September 11.

On Palestinian social media, the names and photographs of residents of Nazareth accused of denouncing the escapees have been published. The interested parties denied. Residents of Jenin urged those of Nazareth not to visit their city. Arabs from Israel usually come in large numbers to spend the weekend there, to shop or to get medical treatment cheaply.

Jamal Zubeidi, Zakaria’s uncle, said on Facebook that“From today, in what [le] concerning, [les Palestiniens d’Israël] are Israeli Arabs – Israeli Bedouin, Israeli Druze, Israeli Christians and Israeli Circassians – all of their children serve in the Israeli army and [travaillent] in Israeli defense companies they are proud of it, they raise the Israeli flag and sing Hatikva , the Israeli national anthem.

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