PA reportedly arrests dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank
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PA reportedly arrests dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank

Raids come a day after official PA news outlet reported that Hamas-run security forces summoned dozens of Fatah members in Gaza and arrested several others

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority security forces touring Israeli-controlled Hebron in uniform on July 31, 2018 (Credit: Wafa)
Palestinian Authority security forces touring Israeli-controlled Hebron in uniform on July 31, 2018 (Credit: Wafa)

The Palestinian Authority security forces arrested dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank early Thursday morning, the Hamas-linked al-Risalah reported, citing sources in the terror group.

The reported arrests come a day after the official PA news site Wafa reported the Hamas-run security forces summoned dozens of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip and arrested several others, including the son of a Fatah Central Committee member. 

The PA dominates urban centers in the West Bank, whereas Hamas controls controls Gaza. 

Wafa also reported the Hamas-run security forces threatened print shop owners with “arrests and beatings” if they printed materials in support of PA President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. 

A Palestinian man walks along the beach next to al-Shatee refugee camp on a rainy day, in Gaza City, on February 22, 2016. AFP/MOHAMMED ABED

Fatah, the PA, and the Palestine Liberation Organization have been organizing events in support of Abbas and his upcoming speech. 

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri lashed out at the PA security forces following the report about the West Bank arrests.

“The Abbas security forces’ arrests of dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank represents a dangerous escalation,” Abu Zuhri tweeted Thursday morning. 

Since Hamas forcibly took over Gaza in 2007, the PA has cracked down on its activities in the West Bank and frequently arrests its members. 

In the same period of time, Hamas has heavily limited Fatah’s activities in Gaza. 

The reported arrests also come as reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah appear to be at a standstill. 

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (AP/Hatem Moussa)

In October 2017, the two rival parties agreed to an Egyptian-brokered deal to advance reconciliation efforts, which sought to bring the West Bank and Gaza under one government. However, Hamas and Fatah failed to implement the agreement.

For more than the past year, Abbas has cut some PA budgets allocated to Gaza. 

More recently, however, Abbas has suggested he will cut all funding allocated to Gaza if Hamas does not hand over full control of the coastal territory to the PA. 

The PA sends $96 million to Gaza monthly, according to Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh. 

Hamas leaders have slammed Abbas for cutting funding to the Gaza Strip. 

On Wednesday, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of the Hamas Politburo, told Dunya al-Watan, a Gaza-based news outlet, that Abbas “must be put on trial” for cutting budgets to the Strip. 

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