Hamas Boots PA Officials From Gaza Crossing, Accuses Them of Collaborating With Israel

According to Gaza sources, Hamas believes PA officials helped Israel smuggle espionage equipment into the Strip

A Palestinian security officer closing the gate at the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah on July 24, 2018.
Adel Hana,AP

Hamas security forces prevented Palestinian Authority officials from manning the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday, accusing PA officials of collaboration with Israel. 

Hamas officials have been manning the crossing since Thursday.

According to sources in Gaza, Hamas believes that PA employees are allowing Israel to transfer technological equipment used for espionage into territory controlled by the group.

Since the botched Israeli operation in Gaza last November, Hamas has increased security checks in the crossing. One of the collaborators, according to Hamas, admitted to receiving GPS equipment used in the operation with the help of a PA official.

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Hamas is now demanding PA officials undergo questioning and background checks, including giving their fingerprints. Hamas' Interior Ministry announced that during a search of the Kerem Shalom crossing last week, a canine unit captured electronic equipment smuggled in a container. The equipment and its destination are being investigated, the statement said.

In December, Hamas announced that it siezed Israeli "technological assets" as part of its investoigation into the botched Israeli operation. At the time, a Hamas spokesperson said that there were no Palestinian collaborators in the incident, but on several other occasions Hamas did say that Israel had insiders aiding them in preperations. 

The Kerem Shalom crossing is used to transfer goods into the Gaza Strip, including gas and humanitarian supplies. A few weeks ago, PA officials  pulled out of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, claiming that Hamas is not allowing them to do their job. The tension over control of borders is part of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the PA.