Israel decides to send fleeing Fatah fighters to West Bank
Israel said Monday that it will send dozens of Fatah fighters to the West Bank after they fled the Gaza Strip, reversing an earlier decision to return them because the Palestinian fighters face "immediate danger" in Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered nearly 200 of his Fatah fighters to return to Gaza Strip from Israel.
The first group of 32 fighters were indeed sent back to Gaza Strip. Hamas detained them upon arrival. The new decision came after the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on Sunday petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the defense ministry to halt the deportation of Fatah members who fled the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
According to the AP, Israel's Defense Ministry said in a statement that it halted the process as it received information that "they were being arrested by Hamas and that their lives were in immediate danger." "Israeli authorities halted the process, however, as they received information that they were being arrested by Hamas," an Israeli army statement said.