The head of International Relations in the Islamic Resistance Movement has said that political arrests made by the Palestinian Authority against Hamas members do not reflect any serious intention towards national reconciliation. Osama Hamdan pointed out that since 2007 the PA has arrested or summonsed around 15,000 fellow Palestinians, mostly affiliates of the groups opposed to Fatah, including Hamas. “Almost 120 people were arrested in the first two weeks of June alone,” he noted.
Hamdan was speaking following a statement from families of political detainees condemning such “violations” by the PA and calling for the authority to reveal the extent of the abuses taking place in its prisons and detention centres. Nevertheless, he insisted that Hamas is continuing to meet with Fatah officials to find a way to end the Palestinian political schism.
In a letter to the Freedoms Committee, detainees’ families said that their sons and daughters are paying the price of the schism and expressed their disappointment at the failure of the two main groups to reconcile their differences. “Politically-motivated arrests and detentions by the Palestinian Authority have escalated since the recent reconciliation meeting in Cairo,” said the statement. Concern was expressed about the official silence over the campaign of arrest by the PA security services. “These agencies are supposed to be protecting Palestinians, not harassing, arresting and torturing them.” Dozens of detainees are being held without trial and are deprived of family visits, the statement added.