Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The Gaza government said Wednesday it is willing to reverse a decision to bar seven Fatah officials from leaving the Gaza Strip if Fatah-allied security forces release a Hamas member arrested in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The seven members of Fatah's Revolutionary Council prevented by Hamas security forces from leaving through the Erez crossing point on Tuesday.

Gaza government spokesman Taher An-Nunu said officials decided to stop the Fatah members after the Palestinian Authority refused to release Hamas member Tamam Abu Saud, who was arrested on charges that he plotted to assassinate the PA governor of Nablus.

Hamas has also accused security forces of torturing Abu Saud, a charge the PA denies.

"Despite the continued arrests in the West Bank of 700 of residents that were carried out by the security forces of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, the Gaza government, in response to mediations had decided to allow members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council to travel to Ramallah in return for a symbolic step of releasing Tamam Abu Saud," said An-Nunu.

Fatah official Sabri Saidam criticized Hamas for preventing the seven Fatah members from leaving Gaza. "It is unreasonable that while we are exposed to a vicious Israeli attack on our land and holy sites, Hamas would carry out such an action," said Saidam, the deputy secretary general of the Revolutionary Council.

He said Hamas and Fatah officials were in talks until late on Tuesday in and unsuccessful attempt to end the crisis.

The PA announced Thursday that it had arrested a Hamas cell based in Nablus that plotted not only to kill the governor but to kidnap Israeli settlers and launch suicide attacks on Israeli targets in Jerusalem.

One Fatah official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "Tamam Abu Saud was involved in fundraising, purchasing weapons that were seized with a cell affiliated with Hamas in Nablus, that was planning to assassinate the governor, Jibril Al-Bakri."

The same official accused Hamas of planning what he called "a coup in the West Bank similar to what it did in Gaza."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017