PA security forces arrest dozens of Hamas loyalists in West Bank

Hamas officials strongly condemned the crackdown.

March 9, 2015 19:21
1 minute read.
West Bank

A Palestinian protester holds a Hamas flag during clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank have arrested dozens of Hamas supporters in the past few days, according to Palestinian sources.

The sources said more than 50 Hamas supporters have been arrested since Sunday in the biggest crackdown of its kind in years. Hamas officials strongly condemned the crackdown and accused the PA leadership of damaging efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two sides.

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Among those arrested by the PA security forces are university students, writers, journalists, teachers, lawyers and senior activists of Hamas, the sources said. In Ramallah, the PA arrested poet Abdel Shafi al-Dahleh, university student Assid al-Banna, lawyer Ahmed Abu Fkheideh, writer Salah Hamideh and Musab al-Barari, who was released from Israeli prison. Hamas supporters were also arrested in Nablus, Hebron and Jenin.

The PA did not give any reason for the massive clampdown on Hamas activists in the West Bank.

Hamas said the arrests were aimed at foiling efforts to end the dispute with the Fatah faction in the West Bank.

Hamas officials pointed out that the crackdown contradicted the recent resolutions of the PLO Central Council, which stressed the importance of achieving “national reconciliation.”

“The arrests prove that the Palestinian Authority has no credibility,” said Fathi Qarawi, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip.

“Obviously, some people in the Palestinian security forces are seeking to send a message that they are the ones who decide, and not the PLO. The arrests show that the Palestinian Authority does not have anything positive to offer our people.”

Another Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, said the arrests in the West Bank show that the PA is “part of the occupation system and is only working to preserve [Israel’s] security.”

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