Palestinian Authority arrests scores of Hamas supporters

The Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested dozens of Hamas supporters in the West Bank in the past few days.The arrests came as Hamas celebrated the 32nd anniversary of its founding by holding mass rallies in the Gaza Strip.At least 66 Hamas supporters have been arrested or summoned for interrogation by PA security forces in the past few days, according to Hamas spokesman Abdel Rahman Shadid. He warned that the crackdown would have a negative impact on PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to hold new parliamentary and presidential elections.Hamas has welcomed Abbas’s initiative, saying it was planning to participate in the upcoming elections.Shadid said, however, that the PA campaign against Hamas supporters does not bode well for the prospects of holding a free and fair vote.Hamas official Hazem Qassem said that the crackdown was “a continuation of the Palestinian Authority’s delusion that it can uproot the presence of Hamas in the West Bank.” He urged the PA to halt “this national and moral crime and create the appropriate atmosphere for free and fair elections.”On Friday, PA security officers arrested five Hamas members in Tulkarem, Nablus and Jenin, Palestinian sources said. The sources identified the five as Ahmed Tu’meh, Ez a-Din Abu Shanab, Mohamed Asideh, Muyyad Tomar and Issa Awad.Another Hamas official, Husam Badran, accused the IDF of arresting several Hamas supporters in the West Bank in recent days. He claimed that the IDF was taking advantage of its security coordination with the PA security forces to step up the campaign against Hamas.In a statement on the occasion of its 32nd anniversary, Hamas vowed to pursue the fight against Israel “until the liberation of the land, the return of the refugees and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on all Palestine.”The statement said that Hamas was prepared to continue working toward thwarting the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993.Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq said in a speech marking the anniversary occasion that his movement was today “politically and militarily stronger than before and remains committed to the option of resistance as a means to liberate the land and holy sites.”

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Author: The Jerusalem Post

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