GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Hamas government in Gaza will not release detainees linked to its battle with Fatah if they are accused of murder, a security source in Gaza told Ma'an.
The authorities in Gaza and the West Bank both pledged last week to free political prisoners in order to ease the reconciliation process, which has repeatedly stumbled during five years of divided governments.
A committee established by the Gaza government has started reviewing names of Fatah affiliates in jail and those who fled the coastal strip after the parties split amid vicious fighting in 2007.
But anyone linked to killings during the fighting will not be part of the amnesty, the security official said Wednesday. It was not immediately possible to verify how many prisoners and exiles this would exclude. Several hundred Palestinians died in the fighting in Gaza.
Member of the bipartisan reconciliation committee Yasser al-Wadiyeh said the group was working on an initiative to provide informal justice for those who were killed during the conflict.
Members of the committee have signed pledge of honor that the dead will be considered martyrs for their homeland, al-Wadiyeh said. Where the killer is proved, the faction to which he belongs will be financially and morally responsible to the victim's family, he said.
Compensation will be paid out of the reconciliation committee's budget, the official continued.
Fatah official Atef Abu Said said 56 party affiliates are in Gaza's jails for political reasons, and estimated that hundreds of members and employees of the security services had fled Gaza after 2007 when Hamas took control.
He called for all political prisoners to be released, and exiles to be allowed to return in safety.