Hamas slams PA for 'politically-motivated' arrests

In July, Fatah and Hamas announced that they have reached agreement to work together to topple Israeli and US “conspiracies.”

Efforts to end the Fatah-Hamas rift suffered yet another blow as Hamas said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority was continuing its crackdown on supporters of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.

Hamas accused the PA security forces of launching “politically-motivated” arrests and pointed out that the move coincided with the Palestinian leadership’s decision to resume security and civil coordination with Israel.

In July, Fatah and Hamas announced that they have reached agreement to work together to topple Israeli and US “conspiracies” against the Palestinians. The announcement came as PA President Mahmoud Abbas entrusted senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub with the task of negotiating with Hamas to end the rivalry between the two sides and reach agreement on holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Fatah-Hamas talks ended after the PA announced its decision last month to resume security and civil relations with Israel. Hamas officials said that the decision “sabotaged” efforts to end the dispute with Fatah.

“The campaign comes as a continuation of the policy of suppressing freedoms and chasing resistance fighters and activists practiced by the [PA] security services against our people in the West Bank,” Hamas said in a statement regarding the recent arrests.

It warned that the arrests would “undermine national resistance against [US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace] the Deal of the Century and the annexation decisions.”

The “annexation” refers to Israel’s since-shelved plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to portions of the West Bank.

Hamas called on the PA security forces to “stop these repressive practices and policies, and for the immediate release of all political detainees.”

It further called on the PA to end its “dangerous” security coordination, renounce all agreements with Israel and work toward achieving Palestinian “national unity.”

In the past few weeks, PA security forces arrested eight Palestinians on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian sources said.

Last week, the PA’s Preventive Security Force arrested Qutaiba Azem, a political activist from Nablus who has been active in campaigns in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian human rights group Lawyers for Justice condemned the arrest of Azem and noted that he had been arrested several times in the past by the PA security forces because of his “political affiliation.” The group claimed that Azem was subjected to “severe torture and ill-treatment” during his incarceration.

In addition to Azem, the PA security forces recently arrested Amir Daher, Ayoub Dweikat, Ibrahim Kandah, Kassem Jaber, Sohaib Zahdeh, Khalil Adileh and Jasser Jasser.

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