Hamas called on the Palestinian Authority over the weekend to suspend talks in
Jordan with Israel, in protest against the arrest of Abdel Aziz Dweik, the
speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council.
prominent political figure in Hamas, was arrested last Thursday by the IDF in
the West Bank.
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Hours later, the IDF also arrested Khaled Tafesh, a Hamas
legislator from Bethlehem.
Hamas and Fatah leaders strongly condemned the
arrest of Dweik and accused Israel of seeking to foil efforts to achieve
reconciliation between the two parties.
“We hold the occupation fully
responsible for the safety of Dweik,” said a Hamas spokesman in Gaza
“We also call upon the Palestinian Authority to halt all forms of
negotiations and security coordination with the Zionist enemy.”
also appealed to the Egyptians to intervene with Israel to secure the release of
Dweik, the spokesman said.
Dweik, who is being held at Ofer Prison near
Ramallah, said in a letter through his lawyer that his arrest was aimed at
foiling the reconciliation process with Fatah and preventing the Palestinian
parliament from convening.
Dweik was planning to hold a special session
of the legislative council for the first time since Hamas seized control over
the entire Gaza Strip in 2007. Since then, the parliament has not been able to
“I was planning to convene the parliament at the beginning of
February,” Dweik said in his letter.
Dweik, who lives in Hebron, was
arrested in 2006 following the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. He was
released three years later.
Since his release, the PA has banned him from
returning to his office in the parliament building in
Government officials said Hamas has consistently called for the
Palestinian Authority to suspend talks with Israel, and that there was nothing
new in their issuing a call now. The officials said there was at the same time a
great deal of international pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas to continue the talks.
Hamas also announced Saturday that PA
security forces have arrested five more Hamas supporters in the West
Among those arrested are three university students from Nablus and
Ramallah and two Palestinians who had just been released from an Israeli
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.