Hamas forces 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hamas's security forces in the Gaza Strip detained over the weekend dozens of Fatah activists in one of the largest crackdowns in recent months, Fatah officials said.
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The latest clampdown on Fatah comes after fresh mediation efforts to solve the crisis with Hamas failed.
It also coincides with the third anniversary of Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip.
A special committee that was formed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last month to discuss ways of ending the power struggle has been dissolved. The committee was headed by Nablus businessman Munib al-Masri.
Its members were supposed to travel to the Gaza Strip for talks with
Hamas leaders on the ongoing dispute between the two parties. However,
the visit was called off after Hamas announced that it would not receive
the delegation, which consisted of several top Fatah representatives.
The decision to dismantle the committee also came after Hamas refused to
sign an Egyptian document that was supposed to end the crisis.Fatah officials claim torture
According to the Fatah officials, many of their members in the Gaza
Strip were summoned to various Hamas security installations "for
questioning and torture. The detainees were also instructed to bring
along their passports, the official added.
The detainees included Amal Hamad, member of the Fatah Revolutionary
Council, Fayez Abu Aitah, a prominent spokesman for the faction and
Muhammed al-Talouli, a former deputy minister in the PA government.
The Hamas security forces also summoned a large number of former PA
security commanders, including Abu Hilme Dabour and Kamal Abdel Nabi,
two former "generals" in the PA's Presidential Guard and "colonels" Imad
Shaheen, Ameed al-Haloul, Salah Abu Wardeh and Omar Khadoura.
"Over the past 40 days, the Hamas militias have escalated their
offensive against Fatah members," the Fatah officials charged. "Many are
summoned [by Hamas] and forced to spend hours in the sun while their
heads are covered with bags. Others are tortured and humiliated while in
detention. This happens on a daily basis."
A statement released over the weekend by Fatah revealed that over 100
members of the faction have been arrested by Hamas in the past month
The statement provided a list with the names of the Fatah detainees,
most of whom are from the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
"Hamas's militias are treating the political detainees as if they were
criminals," the statement said. "Many of them are blindfolded and held
in tiny cells that are not fit for human use."
Sabri Saydam, a top Fatah official, claimed on Saturday that the US was
preventing his faction from reaching a deal with Hamas. Saydam was
quoted as saying that a "US veto" was stopping the two parties from
Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said in response
that this "proves" that Fatah cannot make any independent decisions.
"The decision about Palestinian reconciliation is in the hands of the US
Administration and not Fatah," Barhoum said. "This admission shows that
Hamas is not the obstacle to reconciliation, as some have claimed."