West Bank Palestinians Blast Israeli Arabs for Allegedly Turning in Jail-breakers

‘The Green Line now seems much thicker than the concrete separation barrier,’ one activist said, as anger mounted in the West Bank, and Jenin in particular, after reports that an Arab family helped Israel capture fugitives

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Zakaria Zubeidi after being recaptured early Saturday morning.
Zakaria Zubeidi after being recaptured early Saturday morning.Credit: AFP PHOTO / HO /ISRAELI POLICE

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Sep. 11, 2021 8:21 PM

Palestinians in the West Bank fiercely reprimanded Israeli Arabs on social media on Saturday, after Israeli media reported that Arabs in northern Israel helped police find the four escaped Palestinian prisoners.

The four fugitives were captured on Friday night and early Saturday morning in Nazareth and Umm al-Ghanam, reportedly with assistance from locals. Some residents of Jenin called on people from Nazareth to stay away from the West Bank city altogether until and unless measures were taken against the so-called snitches, although others sought to turn down the rhetorical flames.

The Israeli reports claiming that members of a Nazareth family gave police information that led to the capture of two of the fugitives in the vicinity of Mount Precipice, just south of the city, reached Jenin quickly. True or not, they escalated rapidly into verbal attacks on the family and on all Nazarenes.

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Jamal Zubeidi, who has been incarcerated in Israel eight times, is the uncle of Zakaria Zubeidi, who was apprehended early Saturday together with fellow fugitive Mohammed Aradeh. Jamal Zubeidi wrote on social media: “From today going forward, as far as I’m concerned [Arab citizens of Israel] are Israeli Arabs – Israeli Bedouin, Israeli Druze, Israeli Christians and Israeli Circassians – all their children serve in the Israeli army and [work] in Israeli defense companies, they’re proud of it, they wave the Israeli flag and sing ‘Hatikva,’” Israel’s national anthem. Jamal Zubeidi’s post made waves on social media, with many commenters arguing that there are Palestinians who collaborate in Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well.
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One political and social activist who spoke to Haaretz on condition of anonymity said that the fact that the four recaptured escapees were not given protection and shelter by locals shocked the Palestinian community in the West Bank in general and in Jenin in particular. All six of the Palestinians who broke out of Gilboa Prison last Monday were from the Jenin area. “Everyone is downcast and they feel an anger and frustration that is hard to explain,” the activist said. He said the sense of a shared fate from May, when the military flare-up between Israel and Gaza coincided with unrest between Jews and Arabs within Israel, has dissipated. “The Green Line now seems much thicker than the concrete separation barrier,” he added.

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