Friday, December 17, 2004
Palestinian [sic] Gunmen Upstage Jenin Ceremony.
JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank - Dozens of gun-toting Palestinian [sic] militants on Thursday marched into a U.N. ceremony to dedicate new homes for families whose houses were destroyed by the Israeli military — a sign of the authority gunmen still hold in this West Bank town.
The sudden appearance of Zakaria Zubeidi, the 29-year-old militant leader, and at least 20 of his armed men embarrassed the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the body that administers Palestinian [sic] refugee camps.
Weapons are banned in the camps, but during four years of violence, armed gangs have taken control, building their reputations through deadly attacks on Israelis. The unarmed Palestinian [sic] police have been shunted aside.
Zubeidi, West Bank head of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent group linked to the ruling Fatah party, strode to the gate of the compound housing U.N. agency offices, passing signs on a fence showing the silhouette of a gun with a red line through it.
After a brief argument with a guard, he checked in his M-16 assault rifle with telescopic sight and walked in — a pistol clearly visible on his hip.
"Of course I don't condone it, but it's a fact of life," UNRWA head Peter Hansen told The Associated Press, referring to the violation of the no-arms rule. "Look around the camp. We can't stop it — we don't have guns."