The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, reported that terror groups in the West Bank are currently better armed than the Palestinian Authority security forces.
He told the World Summit of Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya that there is a “very significant uptick in the availability of very sophisticated weapons that are around all over the West Bank.”
Wennesland added that these weapons are “not in the hands of the Palestinian security forces, but of organised groups either connected to Hamas or Islamic Jihad or others or more rag-tag.”
He asserted that there needed to be improvements in security coordination between the PA and Israel, noting that he had not seen the “fabric of society at the West Bank falling apart the way it is doing at the moment.”
Recent months have seen the growth of new armed militias in the West Bank, often recruiting among young Palestinian men, which have been at the forefront of Israel’s recent counter-terror operations.
Militia groups such as the Jenin Brigades and Lions’ Den now compete with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.