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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Summary Executions in the West Bank: The Disintegration of Palestinian Society

Filed under: Operation Swords of Iron, Palestinians

Summary Executions in the West Bank: The Disintegration of Palestinian Society

In scenes reminiscent of the First Intifada, which erupted in 1987, Palestinians “executed” two men from the Tulkarm Refugee Camp in the northern West Bank on November 24, 2023. The two were identified as Hamzeh Mubarak and Azzam Jawabreh. Human rights organizations have yet to comment on the “execution.” During the First Intifada, which lasted until 1993, more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed by fellow Palestinians on suspicion of “collaborating” with Israel. 

After the killings in the refugee camp, the bodies of Mubarak and Jawabreh were dragged through the streets, where a Palestinian mob spat on them and chanted slogans in support of the Palestinian “resistance,” a euphemism referring to Hamas and other terrorist groups. The bodies were later hanged from an electricity pole and a wall, limbs were cut off, and their bodies were “disposed of” in garbage bins.

Palestinians claimed the slain men had “confessed” to serving as informants for Israeli security forces. According to the Palestinians, Mubarak and Jawabreh admitted that they had passed on to their Israeli handlers information that led to the elimination of top Fatah and Hamas gunmen in the refugee camp.

The lynching of the two men in Tulkarm Refugee Camp is a sign of the growing frustration of the Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Israeli security forces’ success in arresting and killing dozens of their members in the past few weeks. Many of the slain terrorists belonged to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah’s armed wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The “execution” is also an indication that the Palestinian Authority security forces are continuing to lose control of the situation in the West Bank. Since Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, the Palestinian forces have stopped pursuing Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank. Nor have the Palestinian Authority security forces made any attempt to prevent Palestinians from demonstrating in support of Hamas, especially during the celebrations over the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails as part of the latest Israel-Hamas deal.

What is particularly disturbing, however, is that the lynching in the Tulkarm camp did not attract the attention or seems to have been ignored by international human rights organizations. More than 48 hours after the brutal killing, no organization has sent its members to the camp to investigate the “execution.” It would be naive to assume that any human rights activist would show up in the camp anytime soon. If anything, this shows the double standards that many in the international community apply to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.