In Israel, escapes ring rally for Palestinians

We were preparing for a “Day of anger” Friday among the Palestinians, in support of six prisoners on the run since Monday. Their incredible escape from the high security prison of Gilboa, Monday, September 6 in the north of the country, through a tunnel dug in the nose and beard of their guards, put the Israeli authorities on the teeth, and the Palestinian street in jubilation .

→ READ. The prison, the hole and the Palestinian prisoners: the great escape that holds Israel in suspense

These prisoners, all from Jenin, less than 15 kilometers from Gilboa, immediately became heroes, in a country where nearly 40% of men passed through Israeli prisons. Four of them were captured on the night of Friday to Saturday September 11 in northern Israel, but two of them are still on the run.

Regeneration of tension

In East Jerusalem, early in the afternoon, young people chanted the first name of the most famous prisoner, Zakaria Zubeidi, like an affront. At around 4:30 p.m., a 50-year-old Palestinian doctor, Hazem Al-Julania, attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a bend in a street in the Old City. The attack was recorded by a surveillance camera. The man is seen walking calmly, then rushing heavily towards a group of six Israeli soldiers. It is so unexpected that the military does not react immediately. Seconds later one of them shoots and kills al-Julania. The policeman is slightly injured.

The city was already under tension: the day before, a hundred Israeli far-right activists had gathered in West Jerusalem, shouting ” death to the Arabs ” and ” we will burn your villages “. But the calm held, finally. As night fell, observant Jews filled the streets of the Old City to make their way to the Western Wall, just like every Friday.

Heavy blow for the Abbas government

At around 10 p.m., the news broke: Israeli police caught up with two of the fugitives in the city of Nazareth. Shortly afterwards, a rocket fired from Gaza was intercepted by the Israeli anti-missile system. Israel retaliated by attacking three Hamas targets in the enclave. In the West Bank, at least a thousand Palestinians gathered at the usual points of confrontation with the IDF – fire was even exchanged from the side of Jenin and Hebron. On Saturday morning there were more than 170 wounded on the Palestinian side, according to the Red Crescent.

At dawn on Saturday, two other prisoners, including Zakaria Zubeidi, were apprehended, this time at the foot of Mount Tabor, about twenty kilometers north of Gilboa. The latter two could be in the West Bank, according to police sources. This is far from being a guarantee of security: Israel maintains an extremely effective surveillance and informant network in the Palestinian Territories. The Palestinian Authority, which officially supports the escaped prisoners, has also offered its help to find them, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. A blow for the government of Mahmoud Abbas, whose popular legitimacy is in free fall.

Naftali Bennett breaks her Shabbat

The Israeli government takes popular mobilization seriously. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a cleric, took the rare decision to break his Shabbat to consult with security forces officials on Saturday. On Palestinian social networks, we share photos of the arrest of the four fugitives: their short escapade is already a victory that serves, as in May, to galvanize the Palestinians of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank around a cause common.

“If six prisoners were able to break down the narrow barriers of a prison, millions of Palestinians can break the yoke of the occupation”Ayman Odeh, head of the United Arab List, Israel’s main Arab political party, said on Saturday. “Then the people will be free”.


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