Fatah, Hamas agree to end political arrests
Rival Fatah and Islamic Hamas movements agreed on Sunday to end political arrests in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a senior Fatah movement official said, according to Xinhua.
Ibrahim Abu al-Najja, a senior Fatah leader, told reporters " the two movements agreed that they will end the file of political arrests in both territories."
"We agreed to exchange lists of prisoners imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank to prepare for their release," said Abu al-Najja.
Two joint reconciliation committees held the first meeting since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip two years ago.
In Ramallah, Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah leader, told reporters at the end of the West Bank committee meeting "the principle of political detention is completely rejected. We agreed on exchanging lists of prisoners' names."
Following Gaza takeover two years ago, Hamas started to crack down on Fatah movement in Gaza, while Abbas security forces began to crack down on Hamas movement in the West Bank.
Hamas has been insisting that a reconciliation agreement, which Egypt demanded to be signed on July 7, is completely linked to a halt of arrests against its members in the West Bank.
"Arrests in the West Bank is not Fatah's responsibility, it is the government's responsibility, but we agreed to exchange the lists of prisoners, then the two committees will study each case separately," said al-Ahmed.
Meanwhile, Omer Abdel Razeq, Hamas representative in the West Bank committee, told reporters that it was agreed to continue the meetings of the committees "until we end the file of the political arrests."
Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, told reporters that Gaza and Ramallah meetings "are part of the Palestinian preparations to end the current political rift between Gaza and the West Bank."
"These meetings will prepare a positive atmosphere for reaching a reconciliation agreement in Cairo on July 7," said Taha.