PA says security coordination with Israel remains halted despite reports of arrests

Security coordination remains

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority has decided to uphold a freeze on security coordination with Israel that was imposed during protests against now-removed Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a high-ranking Fatah official told Ma’an.

Meanwhile, a report published Saturday in The Times of Israel cited multiple Palestinian sources as saying that PA detention campaigns targeting alleged “Hamas operatives” were ongoing.
While a civil disobedience campaign launched by Palestinians in Jerusalem succeeded in pressuring Israel to remove metal detectors, turnstiles, and surveillance cameras that were installed following a deadly shooting attack at Al-Aqsa on July 14, member of the Fatah Central Committee Jamal Muhsen told Ma’an that all communication with Israel would remain halted “until peace negotiations resumed” with Israel.
He noted that the decision to suspend the PA’s widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel was initially made by a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council resolution in March 2015 over Israel’s lack of commitment to international agreements. The final decision to implement the decision rested with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Muhsen said the president only executed the decision in light of recent Israeli violations in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, but he did not comment on why Abbas didn’t make the move sooner, particularly since security coordination has been a primary source of growing anti-PA sentiment in recent years.
When Abbas announced his decision to cut all ties with Israel last week, many were skeptical that the move would indeed include a halt on security coordination, established under the Oslo Accords, which has been denounced by Palestinian factions as a “revolving door” policy of funneling Palestinian activists out of PA jails into Israeli prisons, effectively criminalizing resistance against the Israeli military occupation.
Muhsen however asserted to Ma’an that security coordination would not resume until peace negotiations were relaunched or an international initiative to end Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territory was put forward.
According to Muhammad al-Masri, the head of the Palestinian Center for Research and Strategic Studies, the decision to stop security coordination was a political decision and not related to security. He told Ma’an he expected the decision “would bring both benefits and disadvantages to the Palestinian people, but national interests require such decision to achieve political aims.”
However, Israeli news site The Times of Israel cited an anonymous Fatah official as saying the PA has continued to make arrests of Hamas members in the occupied West Bank.
The official said the detention of alleged Hamas members was ongoing, but only in regards to “critical matters.”
Head of the PA’s preventive security Ziyad Hab al-Rih also confirmed the ongoing detention campaign to The Times of Israel, saying the so-called Hamas operatives “were planning attacks in an effort to escalate tensions between Israel and Palestinians,” according to the report.
Al-Rih reportedly confirmed that a number of alleged Hamas members were arrested this week in Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Ramallah, and at Hebron’s Polytechnic University.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has continued nightly detention campaigns targeting Palestinians in PA-controlled areas of the occupied West Bank. During predawn raids Sunday, at least 17 Palestinians were detained, with Israeli forces shooting and injuring two Palestinian teenagers during a raid into Jenin refugee camp.

(Source / 31.07.2017)

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