While the composition of the new Palestinian Authority technocrat government is meant to be announced on 6 June, on the ground, the Palestinian Authority collaboration with the Israeli occupation and the persecution of Hamas activists continues as usual.
Ma’an News Agency reported on Sunday that the Fatah Central Committee’s Nabil Shaath said in a meeting with the Gaza government’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that the issue of political arrests in the West Bank would soon be resolved:
“The number of prisoners has already been reduced to so few,” he said, that the underway process of setting up mechanisms for their release ahead of the unity government’s installation should be swift.
However, Hamas’ ranks in Israeli prison are swelling.
Ma’an News Agency reported today that the Israeli government extended the administrative detention of former minister and legislator Nayef Rujoub for a further six months. The lawmaker, who has been held without charge since last December, had been scheduled to be released yesterday.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces detained a car carrying four Palestinian lawmakers at a checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Ma’an News Agency reported:
Aziz Dweik, Nizar Ramadan, Bassem Zaareer, and Anwar Zboun were held at a checkpoint near Bethlehem, Hamas officials said.
Nizar Ramadan was taken to an undisclosed location and Dweik was freed, Hamas officials and the Israeli military said.
All four lawmakers represent Hamas in the Palestinian parliament.
Hours later, Israeli forces arrested senior Hamas official Hussein Abu Kweik. According to the Hamas-affiliated website The Palestinian Information Center:
Israel’s intelligence agency Shin Bet called Abu Kweik’s cell phone the night before and ordered him to appear at headquarters in the Ofer prison near Ramallah city.
The Hamas leader told the PIC before meeting with the Shin Bet officials that Israel is targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials in a bid to suppress their influence in the West Bank and to torpedo the recent Palestinian reconciliation accord.
He said Israel also wants to thwart Naksa day protests [on 5 June] and Hamas’s recovery in the West Bank after the reconciliation.
Abu Kweik has spent a total of 12 years detained in Israeli prisons. He survived an Israeli assassination attempt in 2002 that claimed the lives of his wife and three of his sons.
Meanwhile, Ma’an News Agency, citing the Israeli publication Maariv, reported last weekend that PA President Mahmoud Abbas – whose elected mandate expired in January 2009 – met in secret with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in April.