General, Commander of the Jenin Area Leadership, Palestinian Authority
Translation from Arabic by Max Budovitch
Max Budovitch: First thing, when I met Mr. Emran [former commander of the Jenin Area Leadership] two years ago when I was in Jenin, the security forces had just taken the city from the hands of armed groups. How is the security situation in the City at this time?
Radii Aseedii: To correct the question, the Palestinian security forces did not take the city from any such kind of groups because the armed groups were present because the authority was absent. The armed groups were there. The groups were once oppressive and very strong. None of these groups were occupying, no—they were present and fighting in the city because there was an absence of authority because of the Israeli presence in the area.
MB: How is the relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli security forces in Jenin right now. Are there any programs or plans in terms of this relationship?
RA: Right now the security situation in Jenin is very relaxed. It is a sort of model of security in many of the communities because it is the best form of cooperation between the Palestinian security services and all of the citizens of the community. There is a big cooperation. In terms of the level of cooperation between the Palestinian security forces and Israeli security forces there is a cooperation on the formal level. Only meetings between one side and the other. Meetings. Just between one and the other. Occasionally there will be guests from the general Israeli military leadership. They’ve come to Jenin more than once to see the security situation and to witness the conditions on the ground—the field conditions on the ground. Their observations were that the conditions are very good, the conditions are calm. But the conditions on the ground are even better than what their ranks have said.
MB: How have the Palestinian security forces responded to the assassination of the artist, Juliano, last Monday?
RA: Of course the assassination of Juliano was a criminal act. Every Palestinian will tell you that because, of course, Juliano was a man of thought and an artist—he was not a militant and he was of Palestinian origin. He was Palestinian. The Palestinian security apparatus responded with the arrest of a number of suspects. A number of people who resembled the suspected killer. There is still investigation and questioning….This is a very odd act in terms of the traditions of the Palestinian people. We’ve never seen the assassination of a man of thought, a man of art in this way…he is a martyr for freedom. A martyr for thought. A martyr for speech. Of course many people disagreed with him in their opinions. But of course it is not accepted and not permitted act in this way against someone who differs from you in thought or opinion.
MB: What are the primary steps in the progress of this investigation. What branch of the security forces is doing this?
RA: The criminal investigations are primarily under the supervision of the criminal arm of the Authority. All of the other security services are helping it and are investigating as well and helping the police. However, the criminal situation is being handled by those specializing in criminal investigations—this is the police. But of course we are all constantly cooperating—all branches—National Security, Intelligence, everyone. Everyone cooperates to investigate a crime, or to control the security situation. No service is left on its own. All of the security services are researching the crime and will come together to bring information to inform the police.
MB: Is this investigation special in that the Palestinian Security Forces are doing it as opposed to the Israeli Forces?
R: Please repeat the question.
MB: [repeat the question]
R: The Palestinian forces have arrested suspects and have been pursuing everything in a very strong way. The Israelis, from their side, took the car of Juliano and have come across some evidence in it. They are following it on the Israeli side in the search for the identity of the killer—in terms of the documents and the car in which he was riding, it was all taken within Israel and they are following its path. So the Palestinians are operating in a free way on this matter.
MB: When will you publish the name and identity of the killer?
R: When the investigations end and we confirm the identity of the killer. This is because we cannot release the name of the person who looks like him (the suspect). This would be a mistake. When we finish the investigation and prove that this person is the killer, there will be publication of his name. We cannot publish a person’s name when we are not sure 100% that he is the killer.