PA crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank saw 148 people arrested, following tense relations between Israel and Palestine in the wake of attacks in Jerusalem and death of al-Kasaba.
Following the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) crackdown on Hamas activity in the West Bank last week, President Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces warned Hamas against confronting them in the West Bank, reports Bloomberg Business. The newspaper also reports that the arrests of the 148 Hamas members this weekend strained relations between Fatah and Hamas, and sent a strong message that the Palestinian Authority is willing to act against radicalism within its borders. The arrests, which according to the Wall Street Journal constitute the largest number since 2007, come during a tense time in Palestinian-Israeli relations. The death of two Israeli citizens during the beginning of Ramadan, as well as the death of seventeen year-old Mohammed al-Kasaba from Qalandia refugee camp have led to heightened tensions, not aided by this wave of arrests.
Spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, General Adnan Dmeiri, said to the Jerusalem Post that there is no difference between the rhetoric of Hamas and the Islamic State, adding;
“We won’t allow Hamas or any other group to drag Palestine toward bloodshed, we will use all legal means to stop Hamas from plunging the West Bank into anarchy and bloodshed.”
Hamas representative Hassan Yousef said that the PA security forces were being used as “tools to serve Israeli security” as they are focusing on pacifying Israel following attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem, rather than aiding the resistance.