The Hamas government on Sunday banned two senior Fatah officials from entering
the Gaza Strip.
Abdullah al-Ifranji and Rouhi Fattouh had been dispatched
to the Gaza Strip by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the
context of efforts to end the crisis between the rival parties.
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as soon as the Fatah officials crossed the Erez crossing into the northern Gaza
Strip, they were stopped by Hamas policemen, who later told them of the decision
to turn them back.
“A Hamas security officer informed us that he received
orders from the Hamas government to ban us from entering the Gaza Strip,”
Ifranji said. “He expressed regret over the decision and told us to turn
Ifranji, who is a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said he
and his colleague had been entrusted by Abbas with holding meetings with
representatives of Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to
discuss achieving “national unity.”
He added that the visit to the Gaza
Strip was originally supposed to take place earlier this month, but had been
postponed until after a planned meeting between Hamas and Fatah leaders in
Syria, which was eventually canceled due to the wide gap between the two
Fattouh, a former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council,
expressed regret over the Hamas ban, saying it would hinder efforts to reconcile
with Hamas. He quoted a Hamas security officer as saying that the decision was
taken because the visit had not been coordinated in advance with the Hamas
Ehab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Ministry of
Interior in Gaza, said Fatah was responsible for the ban because of its
continued measures against Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
massacre that the Fatah security forces belonging to [PA Prime Minister Salam]
Fayyad must stop immediately,” the spokesman said. He demanded that the PA
release all Hamas supporters being held in its West Bank prisons.
pointed out that PA security forces recently arrested Tamam Abu Su’ud, a female
teacher from the West Bank, on suspicion of being part of a Hamas cell that
allegedly plotted to assassinate the PA’s governor of Nablus.
strongly denied any link to the alleged plot, accusing the PA security forces of
“lies and fabrications.”
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said that
many of the Hamasaffiliated detainees were being tortured by Fatah interrogators
in the West Bank. He said that several detainees who are being held in a PA
prison in Jericho have gone on hunger strike to protest against their harsh
Barhoum denied the allegation that Hamas had conspired to
assassinate the Nablus governor. He said the charge was aimed at justifying the
ongoing crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank.