Fatah officer: 'Our leaders betrayed us'

Operative claims Fatah did not fight Hamas because of poor leaderhip.

where is abbas exlnt  (photo credit: AP)
where is abbas exlnt
(photo credit: AP)
A Fatah security officer who surrendered to Hamas in the Gaza Strip said over the weekend that he and his colleagues did not fight because "we are very disappointed with our leadership." In an interview by phone with The Jerusalem Post, the 48-year-old officer, who was released unharmed, said: "We decided to surrender to [Hamas's armed wing] Izaddin Kassam because we didn't feel that our commanders and leaders were behind us. Many of our commanders had fled to Ramallah and Cairo, where they were issuing orders to us from air-conditioned hotel rooms." The officer, who asked not to be named out of fear for his life, said that he and his colleagues gave themselves up to Hamas on Thursday night. "We were stationed near President Mahmoud Abbas's office in Gaza City," he said. "When we heard that Hamas had captured the headquarters of the Preventive Security and General Intelligence, we knew that this was the end. We were about 50 officers and we all decided to surrender and hand our weapons over to Hamas." The officer, who served in Abbas's elite Presidential Guard force, said the only orders he and his friends had received from their commanders were to try to prevent Hamas militiamen from storming Abbas's office. "We were never told to fight against Hamas," he complained. "They just told us to stay where we are and to defend the office of the president. I didn't want to die defending an empty building while the president and Muhammad Dahlan are sitting in Ramallah." The officer said he and his colleagues were anyway unhappy with Abbas because he had failed to pay them full salaries over the past 16 months. "Most of us have been unable to feed our children," he complained. "How can they expect us to fight on empty stomachs?" The officer added that some of his colleagues had gone to Hamas a day earlier and offered to join the Islamic movement in return for clemency. "By the middle of last week it was very obvious that Hamas was going to win the battle," he said. "That's also why most of us did not feel that there was much we could do."