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Jenin and Nablus refugee camps: enclaves of fear

The dire economic situation, coupled with disappointment in the Palestinian Authority, have turned West Bank refugee camps into enclaves of violence, led by armed youths from various organizations.
A boy walks past a bullet-riddled wall inside a house where Palestinian Hamas militant Hamza Abu Alhija was killed in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin March 22, 2014. Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians on Saturday during a raid on the home in the occupied West Bank to capture Alhija, a wanted Hamas Islamist militant, the Israeli military said. Hamas supporters carried three bodies through the streets of the West Bank city of Jenin, shouting slogans against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba

On March 22, an Israeli elite Border Guard unit entered the refugee camp in Jenin and killed a wanted Hamas activist by the name of Hamza Abu al-Hija and two other Palestinians — one of them an Islamic Jihad activist — who were staying with him in the house where he was hiding. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet, Abu al-Hija, who had been planning shooting attacks against Israeli settlers and other Israeli targets, was precisely what you would call “a ticking bomb.”

The entry of an Israeli elite operational force deep into the Jenin refugee camp has been no common occurrence in recent years, since the end of the second intifada (in 2005) and the subsequent deployment of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. However, as of late, the refugee camps in the West Bank have been undergoing a process that might be described as the establishment of an autonomy based on fear.

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