Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has left eight Fatah-aligned Hilles clan terrorists stranded in Gaza, where they fear death at the hands of Hamas. They are remaining close to the IDF's Erez Crossing checkpoint, at the northern edge of Gaza, where Hamas is more reluctant to fire at them and incur the danger of encountering return fire from the IDF.
They are remaining close to the IDF's Erez Crossing checkpoint, where Hamas is more reluctant to fire at them.
Three weeks ago, the group, aligned with Fatah, suffered heavy casualties in a Hamas onslaught, and most of the nearly 180 survivors managed to flee to an IDF checkpoint at a Gaza crossing.
Israel originally agreed to Abbas's request to rescue the terrorists, despite coming under Hamas machine-gun fire, but Abbas then changed his mind out of fear that moving them to Ramallah would be considered by Hamas as another victory over Fatah.
Israel returned more than 30 of the terrorists to Gaza before pressuring Abbas to accept the remainder of the clan after human rights groups threatened action against Israel. The government also treated more than 22 of the terrorists at hospitals in Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva.
Human rights activists again have taken up the cause of the eight terrorists still stranded in Gaza and who are in the sights of Hamas guns. "Hamas wants us dead. They will kill us if we return, and Israel is not letting us in," one of the men, who gave his name as Ahmed, told Reuters News Agency by telephone. "If that happens, Abu Mazen (Abbas) bears responsibility for our deaths."
Israel has said it cannot help them if Abbas does not make a request to allow the terrorists to join the rest of the Hilles clan, which was moved to Jericho after Israeli authorities explained to them that they must not return to terrorism.