GAZA (Ma’an) — A Gaza military court gave 10 officials affiliated to Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence services ten days to turn themselves in to authorities in the blockaded coastal enclave on Tuesday.
In a statement made public on Thursday, the court said that if the officials did not turn themselves in within that time frame, they would be considered fugitives and tried in absentia, and that any civilians who knew of the wanted men’s whereabouts but did not report them to Gaza security forces would be charged with misprision.
The statement identified six of the wanted officials as PA intelligence majors Sami Nasman, Jamal Hassouna, Shabaan Abdullah al-Gharbawi, Sabri al-Mazen Askari, Muhammad Sami Abd al-Aziz al-Bardini, and Ibrahim Abu Taha Askari.
The court did not specify what the ten officials were wanted for.
The Fatah-dominated PA and Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, have been embroiled in conflict since Hamas’ election victory in 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, which erupted into a violent conflict between the two movements as both attempted to consolidate control over the territory.
Tensions have remained steady as the PA last month decided to hold local elections
in the occupied West Bank on May 13 as scheduled, while excluding the Gaza Strip from taking part after Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement rejected holding elections without first achieving political reconciliation across the occupied Palestinian territory.
Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.
Officials from the Fatah-led PA have criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to “eradicate” the movement from the West Bank, accusing Fatah of “escalating security collaboration” with the Israeli authorities through politically motivated arrests and “adopting a revolving door policy” funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.