In a sign of growing internal discord, violent clashes broke out Sunday between men from Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and members of his PA Security Forces in Shechem (Nablus), Samaria.
The violence between the groups both led by Abbas stems from anger among Fatah activists over the arrest of their fellow activists in Shechem's old city.
As a protest against the PA over the arrests, Fatah activists used burning tires and improvised roadblocks to block traffic on the central road of the city.
It was also reported that a day earlier on Saturday, the activists blocked off the entrance to Shechem's old city, announced a general strike, and overnight fired shots into the air with automatic weapons.
The PA Security Forces have standing orders to control the armed Fatah activists in the eastern part of Shechem, and as a result from time to time such clashes have broken out, although the newest instance may signify a spiraling trend into larger clashes.
Not only has the PA apparently had difficulty controlling the activists, but it has also been accused of knowingly allowing violent groups in Shechem to destroy a Jewish holy site in the ancient city – namely Joseph's Tomb, which houses the grave of the Biblical figure.
Just last month Arab rioters burned the Tomb, and while PA Security Forces later broke up the riot and put out the fire, regional leaders revealed that the move was a media ploy, since such a massive act of destruction could not have taken place without the consent or at least the knowledge of the PA forces.
According to the 1994 Oslo Accords, Joseph's Tomb was to be under full Israeli control – until Arab rioters occupied, desecrated and burned down the site in 2000 amid the Second Intifada terror war. Since then it has been left under PA control with the IDF only allowing Jews to visit once a month on Rosh Hodesh.