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Hamas, Islamic Jihad criticize PA over 'politically-motivated arrest campaign'

Aug. 24, 2017 7:42 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2017 4:08 P.M.)
Palestinian security forces (File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements released separate statements on Thursday, accusing the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) of recently carrying out politically-motivated detention and summons campaigns across the occupied West Bank.

According to Hamas, PA security services have been detaining Palestinians due to their affiliation with the movement.

The group said that, over an unspecified period of time, PA security services have detained nine “youths,” including former prisoners and university students, and have summoned three others, including two former prisoners.

The statement added that PA security services also assaulted a former prisoner after he was summoned for interrogation.

In its statement, the Islamic Jihad movement said “the return of political arrests signal the PA’s insistence on shutting doors in front of efforts being put to pass the current situation damaging our national relationship as a result of division.”

“The recent arrests and summons are the result of incitement by characters calling for raising tensions and stirring conflicts, while we are in the utmost need for unity to face coming challenges,” the statement said.

Both the PA and Hamas have accused the other of leading politically-motivated arrests on their members in Gaza and the West Bank.

The PA has come under harsh criticism by rights groups for deciding to block some 30 Palestinian news sites -- all allegedly affiliated with either the Hamas movement or Muhammad Dahlan, a political rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which has been condemned by rights groups as a "serious violation of freedom of the press and expression."

Most, recently, the PA has come under fire for the detention of five Palestinian journalists, in what the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) called “an organized attack against the freedom of journalism,” and a “dangerous assault against freedom of expression and opinion.”

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