A Palestinian militant of Saraya al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades) takes part in a training exercise in Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, on Dec. 23. (Ismael Mohamad/UPI)

Palestinian security forces in the West Bank have been undergoing intense military training by the United States forces.

However, the Middle East Newsline has confirmed reports that these same American- trained Palestinian Authority military forces have acknowledged sheltering Iranian-sponsored insurgency groups in the areas of Jenin and Nablus. These areas are located less than 25 miles due east of Israel’s heavily populated coastal region.

Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces have been harboring these operatives from Islamic Jihad who are now being pursued by Israeli intelligence. Islamic Jihad is listed by the United States, Israel and European Union as a terrorist organization.

According to a senior Israeli security officer, these Islamic Jihad terror operatives were given safe haven in PA security headquarters in Jenin.

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“They sought refuge with us,” Col. Radi Assidah, the commander of PA forces in Jenin, said. “Since then we have been hosting them in our headquarters. They are not prisoners and they are entitled to leave whenever they want.”

Such an admission by Mr. Assidah has marked the first acknowledgement by the PA that it was indeed harboring insurgency fugitives.

Israel has complained that despite increased security cooperation, local commanders were protecting Palestinians suspected of carrying out terror attacks against Israel..

In an interview with the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, Mr. Assidah said the National Security Force has been protecting the Jihad operatives since August 2008. He did not say how many Jihad fugitives asked the PA for shelter.

“We are now discussing the problem of these men so that they could leave our headquarters,” Mr. Assidah said. “When they decide to leave, that will be done in front of the media to prove that the PA does not arrest anyone from Islamic Jihad.”

David Bedein can be reached at Bedein@thebulletin.us


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.