PA steps up measures against Hamas

West Bank security forces arrest Hamas supporters following failure of Palestinian reconciliation talks.

Palestinian police 248 88 (photo credit: )
Palestinian police 248 88
(photo credit: )
The Palestinian Authority security forces have stepped up their measures against Hamas in the West Bank in the aftermath of the collapse of the "reconciliation" talks between the Islamic movement and Fatah. Sources close to Hamas said that the PA security forces arrested over the past few days several Hamas supporters. The sources put the number of Hamas supporters who are currently being detained by the PA security forces in the West Bank at more than 500. The latest clampdown came shortly after the two parties announced that they have failed to reach agreement over the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Hamas and Fatah representatives who met in Cairo last week accused each other of foiling the Egyptian-sponsored mediation efforts by refusing to soften their positions. The sources told The Jerusalem Post that among the Hamas supporters who were arrested in the past few days were Hasan Srouji of Tulkarm; Samer Bader of Ramallah; Sheikh Mahmoud Rabe of Kalkilya; Muhammad Mutair of Jericho; Mahmoud al-Hour of Hebron and Fadel Bushnak and Maher Abed from Jenin. Some of the Hamas supporters were arrested by the PA security forces almost immediately after they had been released from Israeli prison, the sources revealed. Muhammad al-Buhaisi, a Hamas supporter who was recently released from a PA prison and returned to his home in the Gaza Strip, claimed on Monday that he and many inmates were tortured while in detention. He said that one inmate lost an eye after being brutally tortured by security officers that are loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. "One detainee became deaf because of the beatings, another had his jaw broken, while many others complained that they had been deprived of sleep for many days," Bohaisi, a resident of Der al-Balah, recounted. He added that he spent 100 days in a PA prison in the West Bank after being accused of trying to establish a pro-Hamas secret militia. During his detention, he was not allowed to se a lawyer or members of his family, he said, noting that his interrogators had repeatedly covered his head with a bag and prevented him from sitting down or sleeping. Despite the continued tensions between Fatah and Hamas, Abbas decided to dispatch two emissaries to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a senior PA official in Ramallah said. The two, Abdallah al-Ifranji, a senior Fatah official, and Marwan Abdel Hamid, an adviser to Abbas, are scheduled to hold talks with representatives of various Palestinian groups, including Hamas, on the latest developments surrounding the failed reconciliation talks and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. This would be the first time that Abbas envoys visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas took full control over the area in the summer of 2007.