The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Fatah party has halted steps toward reconciliation with Hamas on Tuesday, Palestinian Arab sources told Walla! News, over Hamas's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers.
According to the source, Fatah leadership met Tuesday and decided to freeze the salaries of some 40 Hamas members in the government over the kidnapping, following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement Sunday that Hamas terrorists kidnapped the boys.
This is the second report in 24 hours that the PA is considering dismantling the unity pact. On Monday, a senior Fatah official said that Hamas 'stabbed the unity deal in the back' and that it would 'act against Hamas assets' in the event the terror organization was found responsible for the abduction. Neither report is confirmed, however, and developments are still pending.
Fatah has begun to turn on Hamas over the kidnapping, however, and officials blamed Hamas for repeated attacks on IDF soldiers looking for the teens in Hevron in remarks to Channel 10 Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Fatah's role in the kidnapping remains under scrutiny, as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas promised that the PA would help search for the teens Friday - but Fatah activists have both encouraged all Palestinian Arabs to hinder the IDF's investigation and published a sick cartoon comparing the teenagers to rats and celebrating the kidnapping in general.
Earlier on Friday, a spokesman for the PA’s security services said that the PA was not responsible for the three students’ disappearance.
"Three settlers are missing, why is this the fault of the Palestinian Authority? We have nothing to do with this issue,” the spokesman said.
“If a natural disaster hits Israel, would we be responsible? This is mad and unacceptable, we have no knowledge about this,” he added.
The sudden turnaround could be attributed to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's condemnation of the kidnapping, and a subsequent call from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanded that Abbas both help with the search and torpedo the unity pact.