TEL AVIV – Palestinians slammed the Palestinian Authority for rescuing two IDF soldiers who were nearly lynched by a mob after accidentally entering the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday.
Videos from the scene showed a large group of Palestinians surrounding the vehicle, pelting it with rocks and stones and grabbing at the two soldiers – one male and one female – as the soldiers cry out desperately. The soldiers, who were said to have been led into the Palestinian city by navigation app Waze, had their faces bloodied, the windows of their vehicle broken and an M-16 rifle stolen.
Palestinian security forces were immediately dispatched to the area and instructed to rescue the soldiers.
Political opponents of the PA used the incident to slam the ongoing security coordination with Israel, which they see as fraternizing with the enemy.
A PA official in Jenin justified the move, saying that rescuing the IDF soldiers denied Israel an excuse to send the army into the city.
“Our men acted in a responsible manner,” the official said. “Our duty is to maintain law and order and prevent harm to anyone who enters our cities, regardless of their identity. Today we proved that the Palestinian security forces are in control and are determined to prevent anarchy and lawlessness.”
Other Palestinians praised the “heroic” Palestinians for attempting the lynch.
Hamas-affiliated websites lambasted PA security forces as guilty of “high treason.”
One report, with a headline that read, “Palestinian Authority security protects two Zionist soldiers from attack by Palestinian youths in Jenin,” accused the PA of rescuing the soldiers despite the “popular outrage.”
Another Hamas-affiliated website published a cartoon featuring a PA police officer standing guard at the entrance to a settlement.
The officer faces a Palestinian family living in a tent in the Jenin refugee camp. The caption reads: “The Palestinian Authority hands over two Israeli soldiers who accidentally entered Jenin.”
Thousands more Palestinians took to social media to praise the mob and blast the PA for rescuing the soldiers, with the hashtag “Coordination is Treason” trending.
“The question that needs to be asked is, will the Palestinian security forces defend their people against assaults by the soldiers and settlers?” asked a user named Marwan Hassan.
Khalil Abu Khaled, another Facebook user, wrote that “the youths of Jenin today displayed a unique form of heroism, while [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas registered a new page of shame in his black record.”
Khaled Daabes commented in a post: “Entering Jenin is not like exiting it. The heroes of security coordination rescued the soldiers. Down with security coordination!”
The screams of the female soldier elicited particularly joyous reactions, with some saying they exposed the IDF as weak.