Israel stops 4 West Bank officials at Gaza border
By Nour Abu Aisha, Friday, April 25, 2014
GAZA CITY – Israeli authorities barred four Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) officials from crossing the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border on their way back from the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the PLO's Fatah movement said Friday.
"Israeli authorities on Thursday night prevented four of the 22 [PLO] representatives from crossing through Beit Hanoun without justification," Hassan Ahmed told Anadolu on Friday.
Al-Ahmed said the delegation, which had spent two days in talks with the rival Hamas group in Gaza, had been set to attend a two-day PLO general conference in Ramallah scheduled for Saturday.
"Israel wants to obstruct the conference," al-Ahmed said.
The PLO delegation sent by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left Gaza on Thursday after two days of talks, which produced a reconciliation deal between rival factions Hamas and Fatah.
The move unsettled Israel, which considers Hamas a "terrorist organization." In his first comment on the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said – in reference to Abbas' Fatah – that whoever chose Hamas did not want peace with Israel.
In 2011, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal under Egyptian sponsorship. The following year, the two sides agreed to form a unity government – to be headed up by Abbas – to pave the way for parliamentary polls.
Ties have remained strained between Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – and Fatah – which runs the Palestinian Authority – since 2007, when Hamas routed pro-Fatah forces and seized control of the entire strip.
Beit Hanoun is the main border passage to Ramallah from Gaza via Israel.
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