Hamas lawmaker threatens takeover in West Bank

By Xinhua

Gaza : A Palestinian lawmaker of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip since mid-June, on Tuesday warned President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement that Hamas could rout Fatah militants in the West Bank and take control of it.

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“It will be as what happened in Gaza,” Hamas lawmaker Younis al-Astal said, referring to Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Stripin mid-June after triumphing over militants loyal to Abbas.

“We will sweep the occupation and its tails from the West Bank to precede one step on the way of extensive liberation,” al-Astalsaid in statements distributed by Hamas’ information office.

After Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, Abbas sacked the Hamas-led Palestinian government and appointed a new one in the West Bank city Ramallah.

As a result, the geographically-divided Palestinian territories has been politically split into two parts — with Hamas controlling Gaza and Fatah holding the West Bank.

Since the Gaza takeover, pro-Abbas security forces have increased pressure against Hamas members and constantly harassed them in the West Bank to prevent them from copying what happened in Gaza to the West Bank.

“We don’t deny that our fighters and political supporters in the West Bank are in crisis because most of them are imprisoned by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which holds more than 500 members,” al-Astal said.

He also admitted that Hamas can’t “make a breakthrough in the coming weeks because its power is jailed.”

Al-Astal also dismissed accusations against Hamas that it tortured members of Abbas’ Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip. “Wedon’t conduct torture for political backgrounds,” he said.

Instead, he said that Fatah people in Gaza “are brought to account for their disgraceful corruption.”