Hamas, Fatah Leaders Detained in West Bank

Israeli forces detained two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Hamas and Fatah blocs overnight on Wednesday, following raids on their homes in Nablus and Tulkarem, official sources told Ma’an.

Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, was taken from his home at 2 a.m., officials said.

Witnesses said 50 Israeli military jeeps had arrived in the Balata refugee camp, surrounded the home and searched its contents before taking Khader to an unknown location.

An Israeli military spokesman said he could confirm three detentions in Nablus overnight, but said he was not aware that any were PLC members. All three were taken for security questioning, he said.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that An-Najah University professor Ghassan Thoqan was taken from his house in Nablus, as was Yasser Badersawi, the director of the Right of Return and Refugee Affairs Center.

The spokesman confirmed, however, that Hamas lawmaker Abdul Rahmad Zeidan, also elected to the legislature in 2006, was detained from his home in Tulkarem. The spokesman said he could not yet comment on why the man was taken.

The Israeli military has detained at least 11 Hamas politicians in the West Bank since last October.

Many of those it has detained were among a total of 64 Hamas members it rounded up in 2006, after Gaza militants seized an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid.

Tayseer Nasrallah, member of the Palestinian National Council, said the detentions were an attempt by Israel to disrupt the Palestinian reconciliation process, pointing in particular at Khader’s detention and his historic support for unity.

Delegates from Hamas and Fatah continue to meet following the 4 May signing of an Egyptian-brokered unity deal that created the framework for the appointment of a single government in control of the West Bank and Gaza. The announcement of the composition of the government is expected on Monday.

The day the unity deal was signed, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that the agreement was a mistake, telling Palestinians that they could choose between "Hamas and peace."

(Ma’an News)

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