Fatah sanctions Hamas West Bank rally

A picture depicting late Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin is seen as Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City on 8 December 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Ahmed Jadallah)

Published Monday, December 10, 2012

Updated 1:08pm: The Palestinian Authority has officially agreed to allow a Hamas festival commemorating the movement’s 25th anniversary in the West Bank, as Israeli soldiers arrest 13 Palestinians Monday in overnight raids.

Khalil Assaf, who heads a Palestinian forum of independent figures, said Monday Hamas would organize a festival in Nablus on Thursday.

Hamas leaders will deliver speeches with the permission of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government, as Hamas has already approved a Fatah festival in Gaza commemorating its 48th anniversary, Assaf noted.

Fatah in Gaza announced on Sunday they would organize a celebration under the banner of “statehood and victory.”

The parties, who split Palestine into separate governments in 2007 amid bitter fighting, had both clamped down on political activity by the rival party, but have announced new reconciliation plans following Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza last month.

Meanwhile Israel’s army arrested 13 Palestinians in violent overnight raids in the West Bank Monday, including five youths.

Soldiers raided several homes in Qaryut village, near Nablus, before detaining Ahmad Mashour Amer (25), Aysar Muneer Ayish (21), Adham Sidqi Mousa (22), Abdo Fahim Kassab (23), Ahmad Badawi (22), and Ahmad Radi Issa (18).

In another village near Nablus, Asira al-Shamaliya, forces detained Basim Talib Hamadna (32) and Rabei Ahid Sawalha (24).

In Nablus city, several Israeli military vehicles entered a southern neighborhood and seized 20-year-old Muhammad Samir Hamdi Abu al-Hayyat.

Also in the northern West Bank, forces detained university student Mohammed Khalid Qabaha from his home in the village of Yaabad, near Jenin.

In the south, Israeli soldiers raided the home Nimir Hmeid Taqatqa in Beit Fajjar village near Bethlehem, before detaining his 22 year old son, Hatem.

Two other Palestinians were arrested in al-Arroub refugee camp in the Hebron district, and in the northern city of Tubas.

Also on Monday in Gaza, Israeli military vehicles crossed in an area near Khan Younis to carry out "routine activity," according to an Israeli spokesperson.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an news agency the vehicles came several hundred meters into Gaza territory and were scanning the area.

Israel's recent eight-day assault on Gaza ended with a ceasefire on November 21 with a pledge to end incursions into Gaza.

The assault began only days after Palestinian fighters attacked an Israeli military jeep that had crossed in Palestinian territory, triggering intense fighting which escalated after an Israeli airstrike killed a top Hamas leader.

Israel has imposed a 500-meter no-go zone on the borders, but as part of the ceasefire agreed to stop targeting Palestinians in the area, Gaza's government said.

When a Palestinian was killed in the zone by Israeli forces a few days after the ceasefire, Hamas security forces deployed in the area to make sure Palestinians don't approach the border fence.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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