Haniyeh and Abbas waving 521.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One day after Hamas and Fatah signed an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation
agreement in Cairo, tensions between them appear to have returned, casting
doubts about the prospects of the accord.
Hamas on Thursday accused the
Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank of
arresting more of the Islamist movement’s supporters.
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Fatah said Hamas
authorities had prevented five of its senior officials from leaving the Gaza
Strip for the West Bank.
The renewed tensions came as Hamas and Fatah
representatives prepared to begin talks about the formation of a unity
government that would consist largely of technocrats with no political
A Hamas official on Thursday accused the PA security forces
of arresting dozens of Hamas supporters in the past few days in the West Bank.
Hamas said its supporters were being detained despite the decision by its
government to release scores of Fatah followers held in the Gaza
Wasfi Qabaha, a Hamas official in the West Bank, said that in the
past few days about 20 Hamas supporters had been arrested by PA security forces
in different parts of the West Bank. Another 60 men had been summoned for
questioning by the PA security forces.
Qabaha said that 350 to 400 Hamas
supporters were being held in PA prisons without trial and in violation of the
spirit of the reconciliation agreement.
“The arrests are aimed at
poisoning and foiling the atmosphere of reconciliation,” Qabaha
He noted that many of the Hamas detainees had previously served
time in Israeli prisons and were arrested by the PA security forces upon their
Hamas said that in Hebron, PA security forces on Wednesday
arrested Sheikh Walid Amr, the imam of the mosque in the village of Majd. The PA
security forces also summoned 25 university students from the Hebron area for
questioning next week, a source close to Hamas said. In the Nablus area, PA
security forces arrested a number of Palestinians who hoisted Hamas flags during
a wedding in the village of Karawat Bani Hanssan, the source said, adding that
some of the detainees were less than 13 years old.
spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, said that many of the
Hamas detainees would remain in custody because they had already been sentenced
to prison terms by PA courts. He said the detainees would be released only if
President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential decree” ordering them
In another sign of renewed tensions between the two parties, Fatah
on Thursday accused Hamas of banning five senior Fatah officials from leaving
the Gaza Strip. The five were supposed to travel to Ramallah to attend a meeting
of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Fatah said the ban violated the
The officials arrived in the morning at the
Palestinian side of the Erez checkpoint, but were turned back by Hamas security
officers despite appeals from Egyptian authorities, Fatah activists said. They
identified the five as Amal Hamad, Abdel Hamid al-Masri, Muhammad al-Nahhal,
Tahrir al-Haj and Zeinab al-Wazeer.
Hamas later rescinded its decision
and allowed the Fatah members to travel to the West Bank, Fatah said.