Palestinian gunmen are increasingly threatening and extorting money from Arab businesses in Judea and Samaria, according to non-profit groups cited by Israel National News.
The sources said that the gunmen are usually affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, which has been strapped for cash ever since losing the 2006 parliamentary election to Hamas.
The crimes are virtually impossible to prosecute, said Nablus Governor Kamal Al-Sheikh, who explained that most of the threatened businessmen refuse to press charges for fear they will be physically harmed.
Many businesses have already shut down, and Palestinian officials fear that further extortion on such a large scale could lead to economic collapse.
Want more news from Israel?
Click Here to sign up for our FREE daily email updates