Palestinians wait next to their luggage to leave o.
(photo credit: AP)
50 Palestinians who were supposed to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip
Tuesday, mostly to receive medical treatment here, were repelled by Hamas
security forces at the Beit Hameches Junction just west of the Erez Crossing in
the north-eastern Gaza Strip.
Hamas operatives blocked off the road and prevented the
Palestinians from reaching the crossing with Israel.
Israeli officials said the Hamas blockade was likely due to
suspicions that among the sick were disguised Fatah officials trying to sneak
out of Gaza to attend the Fatah conference which got underway in Bethlehem
Hamas men at the junction ordered those arriving at the
crossing to return to the Interior Ministry in Gaza City and have their permits
to leave the Strip reissued.
The officials also said it was likely that by the end of the
day, Hamas would allow the Palestinians to cross into Israel, once it was
verified that they indeed required medical attention.
The Fatah conference is the sixth of its kind, and the
previous one took place in 1989. It is expected to bring together more than
2,000 delegates from many Arab countries.
Delegates are expected to vote for two of Fatah's main
bodies, the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council. The first
institution consists of 21 members, while the second has 120 seats. Delegates
will also discuss Fatah's strategy, especially concerning the conflict with
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this