Reconciliation committee to meet on political detentions 29Mar12 March 29, 2012

Ma’an News Agency  -  28 March 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A reconciliation committee will meet in the West Bank on Thursday to tackle a recent escalation in political detentions between still-warring factions Hamas and Fatah.

West Bank public freedoms committee coordinator Khalil Assad said Tuesday evening the cross party group, set up the implement a reconciliation deal between the factions, will convene to deal with the escalation. The Gaza body may join by video conference, he said.

Fatah and Hamas are holding closed-door talks sponsored by Egypt to resume the stalled reconciliation deal, he said.

Assaf stressed that the committee had some success in resolving the problem of people in Gaza being denied passports.

But the most complicated issues are imprisonment and firing public servants based on political affiliation. These need huge budgets, and ultimately, a unity government, to be resolved, he said.

While it is certain political detentions are taking place both in Gaza and the West Bank, the number of political detainees is not clear, he said.

On Tuesday, Fatah accused Hamas forces of detaining its party spokesman in Gaza Fayez Abu Eita, and Hamas accused the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority of detaining eight of its members across the West Bank.

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo last May and both parties pledged to stop detaining each others’ affiliates.

The faltering deal has failed to yield a unity government, and the parties continue to lead rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza.

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