PA Knew Nothing About Hamas West Bank Network, Official Says

President Mahmoud Abbas fears reports could have political repercussions and endanger Palestinian unity government.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Hamas supporters in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.
Hamas supporters in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian Authority's security services knew nothing about the Hamas terror network in the West Bank, which Israeli media reported Monday, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday.

According to the official, the security services were surprised by the reports, according to which the Shin Bet security service interrogated dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank over the past three months. Israel suspects the operatives intended to set up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup of the Palestinian Authority.

"If we had known about such steps, there is no doubt the PA's security services would have made the arrests, taken immediate steps and would not have waited for Israel," the official said.

According to the official, security services are currently collecting information and trying to assess the reliability of Israel's claims. "We can't take reports in Israel as an undisputed fact," he said, adding that though the plans of a Hamas coup may be exaggerated, "we are also aware that the 'dream' of taking over the West Bank has been going through the minds of Hamas leaders as far back as 2007."

On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the Palestinian security services to look into the reports, fearing internal repercussions.

"We are going through a sensitive period as the Palestinian people are faced with aggression in the Gaza Strip, and the new information – in light of the new unity government – could have dangerous implications for the unity of the Palestinian people and the future of the reconciliation process as a whole," Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian news agency.

On the Palestinian street, the news – and especially its timing - has been met with suspicion, with some seeing the reports as nothing more than an
Israeli attempt to foil Palestinian reconciliation and unity.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can