(TPS) The Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Monday afternoon that Palestinians in Jenin launched a rocket for the first time. According to the IDF, the rocket exploded in an area under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and caused no casualties.
The rocket was believed to have exploded in mid-air.
Hamas-affiliated Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Jenin posted a video of the launch online claiming the rocket was fired at Moshav Ram in Israel’s Gilboa region between Samaria and the Lower Galilee.
Oved Nur, head of the Gilboa Regional Council stressed that the situation in Gilboa was normal, called on residents to be alert, and criticized the government for not taking stronger steps to protect Israelis.
“It is important to clarify that for three years now we have been warning about the increase in motivation and abilities from the direction of Jenin, and unfortunately we are not receiving proper consideration for the protection of our residents,” Nur said in a statement.
“On the one hand, it is clear and known to us from first-hand sources that the IDF and the security forces are doing an excellent job, and we give them full backing. On the other hand, there is a significant and urgent need to reinforce security and protection measures required for the Gilboa settlements in general, and those near the fence in particular.”
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities arrested a Palestinian man after finding a rocket in an open field in an eastern section of Jerusalem about a month ago.
Abdel Alhakim Buatna, a resident of Ajjul, north of Ramallah, was arrested on suspicion of intending to fire the rocket at Israelis during this year’s Jerusalem Day flag parade in May, according to Israeli media reports on Sunday.
It is believed that Buatna tried to build explosive rockets after learning about their production through the internet, but due to his inexperience and their poor quality he was unable to launch them.
The flag march is an annual highlight of Jerusalem Day festivities, which celebrate the anniversary of the Israeli capital’s reunification during the Six-Day War of 1967. Thousands of youths carrying Israeli flags march from downtown Jerusalem to the Old City.
Palestinians regularly accuse Israel of using the march to “Judaize” the city.
Israel moves against terror stipends
In related news, Israeli security forces on Monday raided the eastern Jerusalem homes of 16 current and former Palestinian security prisoners who had received terror stipends from the Palestinian Authority, confiscating hundreds of thousands of shekels in cash and property.
Police said the seizures included 270,000 shekels (over $74,000) in cash, six vehicles, one motorcycle, jewelry and gold. The police added that 16 bank accounts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels were also in the process of being confiscated.
“All the funds and property that were allegedly received by the Palestinian Authority for those involved in acts of terrorism in the past and their families and were actually used as terrorist funds – were seized by order of the Minister of Defense, and are destined for confiscation,” the police said.
Ramallah pays stipends to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and to the families of dead terrorists. Israeli officials say the payouts provide incentives for terror and regularly offsets an equivalent amount from taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority is legally mandated to allocate seven percent of its annual budget for its so-called “Martyr’s Fund,” which provides stipends to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons, and the families of terrorists killed in attacks. The size of the monthly payouts depends on various factors such as how many Israelis were killed, how long the terrorist has been incarcerated, and family size.
Ramallah has been paying out stipends for years, but the issue came under a spotlight following the murder of Taylor Force, a US citizen killed by a Palestinian who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa in 2018. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which halted US aid to the Palestinians as long as terror stipends are being paid out.
US assistance to the Palestinian Authority resumed under the administration of President Joe Biden. In December 2022, American victims of Palestinian terror filed a lawsuit against the President and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, arguing that the payments violate the Taylor Force Act.
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