PA gov't shuts down 103 institutions in Gaza, W. Bank

Fayad cites violation of law; claims crackdown not aimed at Hamas alone, but part of wider reform.

hamas in gaza 2 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas in gaza 2 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Palestinian Authority government has ordered the closure of 103 institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said Monday, in an apparent crackdown aimed at Hamas. Implementation of the order began Sunday, Fayad said. The formal reason is violation of laws governing civil groups. It was unclear how Fayad's government could carry out the edict in Gaza after the group's violent takeover of the territory in June. Fayad said the closure orders were part of a wider reform. He would not list the targeted institutions, but said their bank accounts would be frozen. Of the 2,400 registered institutions, 103 are to be closed, officials said. Fayad denied the decision was aimed at Hamas alone, but added, "When there is a violation of the law, should I stop there and say there is a sensitivity because this institution might be a Hamas one? This is not acceptable." He said the affected institutions could appeal the orders to Palestinian courts. The order appeared aimed at Hamas because its strength is based on a network of groups that provide welfare to many Palestinians. Its strongest social welfare base is in the Gaza Strip, but also has groups in the West Bank. Fayad said his government will provide for those who are harmed by the shutting down of these groups. "Our responsibility as an authority is to look after all sectors of society, especially those vulnerable groups that need help," he said. "We are the address for that. The Palestinian Authority is committed to these needs."