“If Zakaria returns to his home in the camp, everyone here will protect him,” his uncle, Jamal, said as three masked gunmen belonging to the camp’s “monitor unit” set up a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance to the Jenin Refugee Camp.
“The camp is the safest place for Zakaria to be in,” he added. “Look how many people are on the streets to stop the Israeli army from entering the camp.”
As the uncle was speaking, the gunmen from the “monitor unit” spotted a suspicious black vehicle approaching them. One of the gunmen fired warning shots into the air, forcing the driver to make a quick U-Turn and flee the area.
Zubeidi’s brother, Yahya, and the uncle, Jamal, praised the jailbreak as a “heroic act.” They and several activists in the camp said that the escape was also a severe blow to the Israeli security establishment.
But Yahya pointed out that he does not believe that his brother was the mastermind of the escape. “He always loved adventures, but I don’t believe that he planned the escape from prison,” he added.
According to the brother, Zubeidi spent the past few years in Ramallah, where he was employed as a senior official with the Palestinian Authority Ministry for Prisoners Affairs. Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah’s armed wing, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Jenin camp, was arrested by the IDF in 2019 for his role in a series of terrorist attacks.
“The situation in the camp is very bad,” said Yahya Zubeidi. “I believe that the resistance [against Israel] will continue.”
Shami al-Shami, a former Fatah-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the residents of the Jenin Refugee Camp and the armed groups are demanding an end to the Israeli security forces’ “incursions” into the camp.
“The people in the camp are very frustrated and angry,” al-Shami said. “The economic situation is very bad and many people are unemployed. They are demanding solutions. They also want Israel to hand over the bodies of Palestinians who were recently killed in Jenin by the Israeli army. Until then, you will continue to see armed men on the streets of the camp.”