Unity celebrations have continued unabated this week around the Palestinian Authority, as Hamas officials have accused security forces loyal to Abu Mazen of “assaulting” Hamas supporters in Ramallah Monday evening.
According to the Palestinian Ma’an news website, Hamas said it’s members were prevented from demonstrating in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, and that PA forces attacked protesters, including Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Islamist movement.
Yousef is the father of Mosab Hassan Yousef, a former Israeli spy who saved countless lives by providing intelligence information to Israeli security officials during the Oslo War. The younger Yousef defected to the United States and published an autobiography, Son of Hamas, in 2008.
Ma’an also reported that three Palestinian journalists who were covering the rally were targeted by PA forces, and that several protesters were injured when fighting broke out when security forces attempted to disperse the rally.
Hamas condemned the forces’ actions and demanded that the PA be held responsible.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri said the security forces’ actions “poison the atmosphere of the reconciliation” and called on Abu Mazen to “stop treating our people with this criminal mentality.”
In the meanwhile, banks in Gaza remain closed, and officials of the former Hamas government there remain stationed at banks to prevent PA employees from withdrawing money. Hamas claims that the Palestinian Authority should pay salaries to police , while PLO officials say the financial burden for the Gaza administration should be met by the ruling power there, Hamas.
“Hamas is attempting to burden the Palestinian Authority and the national consensus government with its political and financial crisis,” said Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf in a statement reported by Ma’an.