Lawmakers: West Bank arrest sweep signals PA political crisis

[ 25/09/2011 – 05:38 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)– Palestinian lawmakers lashed out Sunday as the Palestinian Authority security forces resumed an intense arrest campaign affecting hundreds of Hamas supporters, including the sons of jailed MP Omar Abdul-Razzaq, saying the sweep signals a political crisis for the PA.

Within the past two days, the PASF have arrested and summoned for questioning hundreds of members of Palestinian resistance groups in the West Bank, a statement by Hamas’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc confirms, including the two sons Palestinian MP Omar Abdul-Razzaq, who is currently kept prisoner in Israeli prisons. The two men, Mohammed and Saeed were taken into custody after being called in to be interviewed by the PA’s preventive security force.

The Change and Reform bloc statement condemns the string of arrests, saying the escalation signals a deep political crisis inside the PA and affirming a breach of an earlier unity deal reconciling Hamas and Fatah parties.

The statement urges the PA to pursue the will of the Palestinian people and accuses the PASF of working as a agents for the Israeli occupation forces, noting that the incident comes at a time when the PLO has taken unilateral political steps in requesting statehood with 1967 borders for the Palestinians. The members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the PA’s legislative body, suspected that the arrests were linked with silencing opposition as the PLO goes ahead with the step at the UN.

A separate statement by Hamas MPs in the West Bank too denounces the surge in arrests and suspected that the arrests were aimed at undermining the will of the Palestinian legislature.

The Hamas lawmakers wondered how the PASF could spark such a campaign at a time when the Palestinians are in most need of unity, especially as more and more attacks by Jewish settlers target Palestinian villages under protection of the Israeli security forces in rage at the PLO’s move at the UN.

“The security forces in the West Bank should instead be protecting the people from settler attacks and not persecuting them, raiding their homes, and summoning them for interrogation,” the statement says.

On Sunday, the PASF nabbed seven Hamas supporters across the West Bank. Among those arrested in Salfit city were the sons of imprisoned Palestinian MP Omar Abdul-Razzaq in repeated arrests. Many of those taken in were students at Al-Najah University and most had already been detained by the security forces of both Israel and the PA.

Families have made calls for the release of one of the prisoners, Hassan al-Qawwasimi, as he has recently been afflicted with health complications.

Meanwhile, Israeli news outlets have quoted sources from the Israeli army as lauding the PASF saying that security arrangements with the PASF have effectively crushed anticipated escalations in the occupied territories the backdrop of the PLO’s bid for Palestinian UN membership.


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