Most of the Fatah members who escaped from the Gaza Strip following clashes with Hamas will be transferred to the West Bank, the defense establishment decided Monday morning after two days of consultations.
The incident began on Saturday, when members of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles clan surrendered to Hamas forces in Gaza. Many of the family members began moving towards the Nahal Oz crossing.
Northern Gaza Brigade Commander Colonel Ron Ashrov told Ynet on Saturday night that IDF forces rescued dozens of Fatah members who were fleeing Gaza City under heavy machine gun, sniper and mortar fire,
The Israel Defense Forces was preparing Monday morning to move some 150 Palestinians into the West Bank following a series of discussions held Sunday.
A source in the defense establishment stressed that after some 180 Palestinians fled the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Israel began returning them there as per the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
When the men began returning to the Strip, they were arrested by Hamas. After learning of this, the defense establishment held a renewed evaluation of the situation and decided to transfer the remaining fugitives to Ramallah after all.
A source in the defense establishment noted that the Palestinians who entered Israel underwent a security check by the IDF and the Shin Bet.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Sunday demanding that it prevent the State from sending the dozens of Palestinians who fled Gaza following fierce clashes with Hamas back to the Strip.
In the petition, ACRI Attorney Oded Feller said the lives of those who are being sent back to Gaza is at risk, adding that sending back people who request political asylum to the place they had escaped from constitutes "one of the most severe human rights violations and is a breach of Israeli law and human morality".