The Islamic Jihad terror organization is increasing its visibility in the West Bank, so far unimpeded by the Palestinian Authority.
The PA has long been in conflict with both the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad despite reconciliation efforts including a 2017 agreement to end hostilities, signed with the mediation of Egypt.
The change in the group's behavior coincides with the PA's financial woes compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and its suspension of security cooperation in Israel due to Jerusalem's announced intention to annex parts of the West Bank
The recent death of a former Islamic Jihad leader, Ramadan Shalah last week, was the opportunity for members of the organization to make public statements and demonstrate a presence in their strongholds in Bethlehem and Jenin.
Palestinian sources told Ynet that in one mourner's tent erected in Bethlehem to honor the late leader, armed Islamic Jihad militants fired shots into the air in a ceremonial act to commemorate the dead and then quickly left the scene though no security forces appeared to be in pursuit.
On Wednesday, at the same mourner's tent, a public memorial ceremony included Islamic Jihad flags and speeches by the terror group members, a scene that would have been unimaginable weeks earlier with both Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority blocking any attempt at a public show of force by the group.
On Monday, Jihad activists led a large car convoy through the village of Ni'ma near Ramallah waving flags and calling out slogans hailing the organization, using loudspeakers while swearing their allegiance to the groups' current leader Ziad Nahala
A source blamed the lack of security cooperation with Israel on the PA's security forces' failure to react to the Jihad's demonstration, claiming if Israeli forces could have been called in, these public events would have been stopped.
The source explains that the PA could not afford to be seen breaking up the Islamic Jihad's events without public criticism.