PA's Abbas visits Jenin for first time since 2012

Palestinian leader calls West Bank city 'icon of struggle and steadfastness' and issues veiled threat to rivaling Palestinian factions; 'The hand that dares to undermine the unity of our people will be uprooted'

Einav Halabi|Updated:
Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Jenin

For the first time in over a decade, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas visited Jenin on Wednesday following Israel's largest counterterror operation in the northern West Bank in recent years.
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Abbas called Jenin an "icon of struggle and steadfastness" after he and his entourage landed there in two Jordanian helicopters in the cemetery where Palestinian terrorists that were killed during the Israeli operation were buried.
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ביקור אבו מאזן במחנה הפליטים ג'נין
ביקור אבו מאזן במחנה הפליטים ג'נין
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lays a wreath at the cemetery in Jenin
(Photo: Reuters)
"Jenin refugee camp stood firm in the face of aggression and made sacrifices for the sake of the homeland. We did not and will not forget the Nablus camps, all the camps in the homeland, and Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian people. Today we came to Jenin to continue rebuilding the camp. We will not accept aggression from anyone, and we will remain steadfast and patient," he said.
Abbas addressed a proposal that arose during the Trump administration and emphasized that "Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine, not Abu Dis. We will continue to be resilient and remain in our land until those who occupy our lands depart. The entire Palestinian people are with the residents of Jenin and its camp until we achieve victory."
Abbas also sent a strong hint against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. "The hand that dares to undermine the unity of our people will be uprooted."
At the end of his speech, Abbas told his Palestinian audience: "We must rid ourselves of the occupation and signal them: Leave us, we are here to stay. Long live Jenin and its camp, you are a symbol of resilience."
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ביקור אבו מאזן במחנה הפליטים ג'נין
ביקור אבו מאזן במחנה הפליטים ג'נין
Palestinians gather around Mahmoud Abbas in Jenin
(Photo: Palestinian media)
Many Palestinians came out to welcome Abbas despite the negative feeling among residents of Jenin toward him and the Palestinian Authority in the past, which allowed terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to build a broad public infrastructure within the refugee camp. Now it seems that there is a noticeable change in attitudes toward Abbas and the PA, but children were also seen cheering the security forces' vehicles in praise of the Jenin Brigade. This indicates their legitimacy among the public and the Palestinian leadership.
The positive change in the residents' attitude toward the PA is a result of the Palestinian security mechanisms' efforts toward reconciliation, in addition to significant gestures from Israel. Israeli security forces have had close cooperation with the PA, aiming to restore some of its control in the area. Abbas' visit represents a significant step in the PA's attempt to regain some control in Jenin, where the Palestinian security mechanisms recently carried out an operation to restore governance.
First published: 16:11, 07.12.23
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