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In the streets of Jenin, a scent of a vigil of arms

Posted today at 2:00 p.m.

“Zakaria! “ This first name resonates, like a challenge to the omnipotence of Israel, in the alleys of the Jenin refugee camp, in the north of the West Bank. Residents shout it, laughing, taking the cool on their doorstep, Tuesday, September 7, at nightfall. They praise Zakaria Zubeidi, the hero of the camp, escaped the day before from an Israeli prison with five cellmates, all from Jenin. Ephemeral victory, triumph of the poor, their run arouses here an atmosphere of vigil of arms.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The spectacular prison break of Zakaria Zubeidi, Israel’s former public enemy number one

Lookouts ride scooters around the camp, home to 33,000 descendants of refugees from the 1948 war, which followed the birth of the State of Israel. They are on the lookout for Israeli soldiers who could infiltrate in search of the fugitives. At the end of the afternoon, four young militiamen were deployed on the Return roundabout, hooded, American M16 assault rifles in hand. Expensive weapons (18,000 euros), fallen from army trucks and recovered haphazardly. One fired two bursts over a car that was slow to stop. Another features a driver honking his horn to greet him, laughing and scared at the same time.

In the streets of Jenin, a scent of a vigil of arms
In the streets of Jenin, a scent of a vigil of arms

Since Monday, the governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, has observed movements of Israeli forces around the city and the northern province: “They are waiting for information. If they discover that the escapees are hiding in the camp, they will enter without hesitation. “ Mr. Rajoub assures that he has not received the slightest phone call, within the framework of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). It suits him. It would be embarrassing for him to appear on the occupier’s side during this manhunt.

Zubeidi is a “Hero”, he asserts. A classmate. A member of the Revolutionary Council, the internal “Parliament” of Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank. A veteran of the second Intifada, ex-boss in Jenin of the Brigades of the martyrs of Al-Aqsa, the armed wing of the movement, dissolved in 2008. An uncontrollable ex-“sheriff” of his city, reconverted in the theater, companion of ‘an Israeli, accustomed to enemy media. An employee of the Palestinian Authority, whom he sharply criticized. An eternal 45-year-old boy from the camp, who had two wonderful houses built for his family on the nearby hill. From his garden, the view leads to the penitentiary in Gilboa, Israel, where Zubeidi escaped. Arrested in 2019, he is accused of shooting Israeli buses in the occupied West Bank, along with a derelict lawyer, Tarek Barghout, who has been sentenced to thirteen years in detention. Zubeidi is still awaiting his sentence. His Israeli lawyer does not want to say anything about it.

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