Hamas is warning it will revolt in the West Bank if the Palestinian Authority’s security organizations do not stop their wave of arrests against the movement’s members.
Over the past week, security organizations in the West Bank have arrested more than 150 Hamas members, including religious clerics, teachers, students and politicians. This follows last week’s outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip, when several Hamas military leaders were killed in an explosion. Hamas blamed Fatah for the incident, saying it was carried out in an attempt to destabilize Hamas’ control of Gaza.
"The continuing wave of arrests in the West Bank and the fact it coincides with arrests conducted by the Zionist occupation in the same areas, reflects the nature of the role played by the Palestinian Authority’s security organizations in aiding the occupation," said Hamas’ spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri during a news conference in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Hamas’ TV station is calling on its members in the West Bank not to let the Palestinian police arrest them without a fight.
The movement has asserted that the recent escalation in violence flies in the face of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s calls for reconciliation talks in Cairo.
Nevertheless, two senior Hamas members arrived in Cairo in the last two days ahead of the coming negotiations between the movement and Fatah. No date has yet been finalized for the beginning of the talks, which will be brokered by Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports that ‘Abbas delivered a strong message to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, according to which he would dismantle the Palestinian Authority if Israel releases from jail Hamas MPs and ministers.
More than 40 Hamas MPs and ex-ministers detained in June 2006 after the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The P.A. later denied Haaretz‘s report.
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