Gaza: Fatah Prisoners Get Visit; Shalit Still Incommunicado
Hamas has allowed Fatah leaders to visit Fatah members imprisoned in Gaza for the first time since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007. Fatah lawmaker Ashraf Jomaa was allowed to visit several prisons, accompanied by Hamas official Ismail Ashqar.
The visit follows years of feuding between the rival Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations in which each side has accused the other of torturing its prisoners. Some allegations of torture have been confirmed. Prisoners have died in custody in both Hamas and Palestinian Authority prisons.
Jomaa was permitted to meet with the Fatah prisoners for long enough to ascertain that they are not on hunger strike, Ashqar said.
Hamas leaders said the visit was allowed in order to “refute all the allegations and lies that are being spread by Fatah.”
Meanwhile, Hamas continues to bar access to Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped in 2006 during a terrorist attack along the Gaza security fence. International human rights groups have not been allowed to see Shalit, in violation of international law.
Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have run high since the Hamas coup in Gaza. Several rounds of talks have failed to bring about reconciliation. One of the main sticking points in talks is the issue of “security,” with each group hoping to maintain its private armed forces.