Classes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis have been disrupted by the screams and shouts of political prisoners being interrogated by Hamas security forces in a nearby building, an official Palestinian Authority daily reported.
As reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas resumed in Cairo on Monday, Ramallah-based Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah claimed that pupils in a girls’ school in central Khan Younis have been affected by “fear and horror” as a result of the torture, compounding their suffering during Operation Protective Edge.
Despite having formed a unity government of technocrats on June 2, the political schism between the two rival movements remains as deep as ever, with Abbas openly accusing Hamas of scheming to topple him and of instigating the recent round of violence with Israel.
Many anonymous testimonies were sent to the daily by students fearing reprisal for complaining openly. “M,” a new student at the school, asked her counterpart “A” about the origin of the shrieks and was told that the building next door belonged to Hamas police’s General Investigations Department.
Another student, “S,” said she was “really fearful” of the nearby police station, stating that “police should maintain law and order and not arouse angst through perpetual police car traffic and the coming and going of suspects being questioned.
Hamas has branded accusations such as those expressed by Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah a smear campaign instigated by Fatah, which continues to oppress and harass Hamas operatives in the West Bank. On Sunday, West Bank security agencies arrested six Hamas operatives and summoned two for questioning, Hamas’s Palestinian Information Center news website reported.
The Islamic movement — which banished Fatah from the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup in 2007 — continues to run its own ministry of interior in the coastal enclave, responsible for the multiple security forces active there. Fatah official Amin Maqboul told Hamas’s Al-Resalah news website on Monday that reconciliation talks in Cairo will focus on applying the effective control of the unity government over the entire Gaza Strip.