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Hamas grants amnesty in reconciliation gesture
Published Sunday 25/11/2012 (updated) 26/11/2012 12:54
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Palestinians hold a rally in the West Bank calling for reconciliation.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Sunday indicated they would free prisoners affiliated to their West Bank rivals Fatah, giving further momentum to reconciliation efforts since the Israeli war on the coastal enclave.

Government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the government would grant an amnesty to all suspects and prisoners related to its conflict with Fatah in 2006.

The government will set up a committee to implement this measure, he said.

Al-Nunu said the government decided to leave the period of the division behind them out of respect for national unity.

The parties fought bitterly after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, splitting into separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank a year later.

Reconciliation talks have repeatedly stumbled, but Israel's eight-day war on the Gaza Strip which ended Wednesday gave political impetus to ending the division.

While a 2011 reconciliation agreement, never implemented, included the requirement for both sides to release political prisoners, both sides officially deny they are holding affiliates of their rivals for political reasons.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights welcomed the amnesty announcement, saying it "hopes that this decision will push forward the process of the Palestinian reconciliation talks, and that it will mark the end of the division."

Political detentions

Last month, the Independent Commission for Human Rights met 30-odd prisoners affiliated to Fatah in Gaza's internal security jail.

They are mainly held in solitary cells, and under military jurisdiction, ironically using the 1979 law of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Fatah-dominated body of which Hamas is still not a member.

Typical charges, such as collaboration with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, will not hold up in a court of law, so detainees face lengthy detention without charge. One Fatah affiliate has been in jail for four years without trial, ICHR director Ahmad Harb told Ma'an.

Both Fatah and Hamas say inmates are wanted for criminal charges not their political affiliation. ICHR notes that such detentions in the West Bank and Gaza regularly circumvent due process, and the charges are not generally convincing.


Al-Nunu also pledged that the Gaza government will study the execution of seven suspected collaborators during the conflict in Gaza last week.

A governmental committee will be formed to examine the "extra-judicial executions," he said.

The killings by militant groups in broad daylight on the streets of Gaza has underlined the differences between Hamas' Gaza leadership and the politburo members living in exile.

Gaza Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahhar was defiant in the face of criticism on Saturday. "We will not allow one collaborator to be in Gaza, and let human rights’ groups say whatever they want, a human has a rights if they have honor and not if they are a traitor," he said.

But the deputy chief of Hamas, living in exile, had condemned the killings, urging resistance leaders to use legal procedures to deal with suspected spies through the courts.

Mousa Abu Marzouq said the killings were "not acceptable at all" and that those responsible for the killings must be held accountable, in a Facebook post earlier this week. The incident "must never happen again," he added.
1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
25/11/2012 14:28
We look at Gaza and don't know whether to laugh or cry. What of the hundreds (or more) Fatah men whose legs were shot off by Hamas? What of the Christians who are being murdered or chased out of Gaza? What of the wild west justice system Gaza appears to be so proud of - shooting people in the head in the street and dragging their bodies while people cheer and throw candies? This is the new "nation" that wants to join the U.N.? Disgusting.

2 ) LOL Hamas knows it OWNS the / WEST BANK
25/11/2012 15:55
Only matter of time West bank will be another ISLAMIC CALIPHATE

3 ) Sarah / Holland
25/11/2012 16:16
Brain, I also don't like what Hamas is does. But what are you trying to say here? Hamas is worse than "Israel"? No way! What "state" is "Israel"? Your leaders are worse than Adolf. And thats really disgusting! Have a nice apartheid live

4 ) Omar / South Paterson, NJ, USA
25/11/2012 17:30
Brian if Israel caught Jews helping Hamas what will they do? The Zionist state already detains Arabs without charge. Its only a matter of time that the Jews will be the minority in the so called "Jewish State". Hamas by far is better than Israel, no other nation in the world has violated international law and U.N. resolutions. Palestine will never surrender.

5 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
25/11/2012 18:28
Yeah, how come I always get touched by Israeli concerns about Palestinian well-being ? When Brian Cohen speaks about Christians being murdered I guess he's speaking about Paul Salem Sweilem, killed by an Israeli air raid last monday,.....huh.....not ? Maybe he could tell us about Michael Ben-Ari demanding a genocide in Gaza during a public ralley in TA. What if Brian told out about the Israelis going on excursions to the 'border' to see the bombing of Gaza, all while applauding

6 ) munir / qatar
25/11/2012 19:07
"Typical charges, such as collaboration with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.." beyond ridiculous ... "Al-Nunu also pledged that the Gaza government will study the execution of seven suspected collaborators during the conflict in Gaza last week." although all were salfists affiliated..what of past killings sometimes a cover for personal conflict..see aljazeera report from after 2009 war on gaza of some qassam individuals

7 ) Tibi / Tubas
25/11/2012 20:31
Hamas killed 165 Fatah members, in their Gaza coup, and wounded over 1,000, so it is more Fatah that should be offering amnesty, not Hamas.

8 ) Justsayin / USA
26/11/2012 05:28
Why not channel your anger towards sports instead?

9 ) Omar / South Paterson, NJ, USA
26/11/2012 11:34
Only time IsraHell loves Palestinians is when their divided. They meaning the zionist cant accept that Palestinians have a right to defend themselves just as any other people, this is because Israel feels as they have been given a God giving right that they are better than everyone else......sounds very like Hitler and Nazi Germany, Israel's birth parent. The world is changing and its beginning to see the hate that israel has.
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