77 Fatah men taken off wanted list

Sources say none of the pardoned men were directly involved in murder.

A Fatah gunman in Nablus (photo credit: AP)
A Fatah gunman in Nablus
(photo credit: AP)
Israel has decided to stop pursuing dozens of West Bank-based members of Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday.
Israeli security officials recently handed the Palestinian Authority a list that included the names of 77 Fatah operatives who were no longer wanted by Israel, the sources said.
Most of the men are members of the armed group of Fatah, which was responsible for a series of attacks on Israelis during the second intifada, the sources said.
They said that 10 of them had been fully pardoned, which means they would be able to move around freely and even travel abroad.
Some of the Fatah men were told that they would have to remain inside their homes during the night, while others were instructed to sleep at PA security installations.
None of the pardoned Fatah men had been directly involved in murder, the sources said.
A list with the names of all the pardoned Fatah operatives was posted by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. Most of the men are from Ramallah and Nablus.
The decision to stop chasing the Fatah men was not the first of its kind. In recent years, dozens of Fatah gunmen who agreed to hand over their weapons to the PA and renounce violence were also granted clemency. Some of them later resumed their activities and were either killed or arrested by the IDF.
The latest Israeli move is seen as a reward for the PA leadership for its increased security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.
A PA official in Ramallah claimed that in recent months the Palestiniansecurity forces managed to foil several terrorist attacks on Israel.The official pointed out that in one case PA policemen confiscated ahome-made rocket that was supposed to be fired at Israel from theRamallah area.
In a related development, the PA security forces arrested 28 Hamassupporters in the West Bank in the past 24 hours, Hamas sources said onTuesday.
The sources accused the PA of stepping up its measures against Hamassupporters in the West Bank and warned that the crackdown wouldjeopardize efforts to achieve reconciliation between the Islamistmovement and Fatah.
According to the sources, the PA security forces also raided a numberof mosques in the Ramallah area over the past few days in search ofweapons. Residents of Kharbata Bani Harith, 15 km. west of Ramallah,said the policemen destroyed furniture and windows inside a mosque.