The number two man on Israel's most wanted list and commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, Jamal Abu Samhadana, has been appointed Thursday as director-general of the Palestinian Interior and National Security Ministry.
Samhadana, whose group is behind countless rocket attacks on Israeli targets, survived an IDF assassination attempt in the past and will now become the number two figure in the Palestinian Authority's most important ministry, which oversees PA security forces.
An Israeli security official told Ynet Thursday that the security establishment was not surprised by the appointment.
“With the rise of the Hamas government, every appointment of someone linked to terror is not really a surprise,” the official said. “Anyone involved in terrorism, and a planner or funder, may be targeted and it doesn’t matter what position or title he carries,” he added
In the post-disengagement era, Samhadana's group has become the leader in rocket attacks on Israel alongside the Islamic Jihad. The Resistence Committees also led the effort to transfer rocket production know-how and infrastructure from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
Last week, the IDF killed the head of the rocket infrastructure in the West Bank, a member of the Committees, in the Bethlehem region. In response, Samhadana's group promised a painful revenge.
'Resistance will continue'
In a talk with Ynet, Resistence Committees' Spokesman Abu Abir vowed that Samhadana's appointment would not prevent the group from continuing its attacks on Israel.
"The appointment of the general commander to this important post is part of the right of the entire Palesitnian people, on all its organizations, to take part in public work on all its forms, including government work," he said.
"We hope that with the appointment of the commander we will all help the Palestinian government and the Interior Ministry to ensure the security of the public and the security of its property, and aid in imposing order and security in the territories of the Palestinian Authority," he added. "But all of these things will not prevent us and other resistance organizations from continuing to resist, in an organized manner, the occupation and its crimes."
Abu Samhadana belongs to the largest clan in southern Gaza. In recent days he met with Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siam, a senior Hamas member, who offered him the post. Abu Samhadana accepted the offer.
Months before the Palestinian elections, the Palestinian Authority attempted to bring Abu Samhadana into its security services with the hope of benefiting from his experience, as well as incorporating members of his organization, thereby ensuring their support for the PA, which was working to maintain a cease-fire with Israel
At one point, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his associates even offered Abu Samhadana the role of military intelligence chief in place of Musa Arafat, who was killed.
Abu Samhadana rejected the offer, while members of his organization busied themselves mainly with firing rockets at settlements.