The Palestinian prime minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, signed a decree on Monday providing for the release of all prisoners affiliated with Fatah in Gaza.
Sources close to Hamas said that the Fatah members who will be freed as per Hamas’s decision include eight prisoners who were held for “security offences”, while two prisoners will remain in prison until the completion of the community reconciliation, which is related to the victims of the infighting that left around 500 people dead and hundreds wounded.
The Hamas government has always denied the presence of political prisoners affiliated with Fatah in its jails since the internal divisions deepened after it took control of the Strip in June 2007, and points out that although some prisoners held in its prisons do belong to Fatah, they are in prison for “security and criminal offences”, not for political reasons.
A leading member of Hamas’s political bureau, Dr Moussa Abu Marzouk, said that the decree reflects Hamas’s commitment to completing the reconciliation agreement and ending the internal Palestinian divisions.
In a press statement, Abu Marzouk also revealed that he called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas while the latter was in Doha, Qatar and they agreed a delegation from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), headed by Azzam Al-Ahmad, would visit the Strip early next week to discuss the formation of a national consensus government.
Abu Marzouk stressed that Hamas is working hard and with sincerity to get the Palestinian people and all the different Palestinian factions and institutions out of the current state of division, possibly through a unified political platform under the umbrella of the PLO.
He added that Hamas is seeking to make sure that “there is a one national platform, a comprehensive national platform. We are working toward enabling the Palestinian people to have one president, one legislative council and one government.”
Abu Marzouk also affirmed that Fatah demonstrates sincere intentions towards the reconciliation: “Everyone is working for the unification of institutions, regulations and legal systems – because what is happening in Gaza is different from what is happening in the West Bank. This is what we are seeking in the context of the Palestinian unity.”