While the Palestinian Authority officials say that the reported meeting embarrasses Fatah, Hamas says it was less a meeting and more a series of home raids and interrogations. Shin Bet refuses to comment on the reports.Palestinian sources told Israeli daily, Haaretz, that 10 days ago a number of low ranking officers of Shin Bet, Israeli Security Agency, met with senior figures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad near the city of Jenin.
According to Haaretz, among the Hamas figures was the former Hamas Prisoner Affairs minister, Wasfi Kabha, a Jenin resident; Fadil Busnak, a lawyer representing mostly Hamas men, who also resides in Jenin; and A’san Zreydi, an important Hamas figure in the area and a former prisoner. At one of the meetings Adnan Hader, a member of Islamic Jihad from the village of Arraba, also attended All of them are recognized by Israel as political figures.
According to what the sources told Haaretz, the Shin Bet officers visited the four in their homes late at night and did not intend to arrest the activist or to ask about security issues, but to talk ‘over a cup of coffee’, about their opinion regarding the peace talks, it has been speculated.
As Haaretz reported, PA officials complained about the matter and claimed that they could not understand the meaning or purpose of the meeting. In their opinion, the meeting embarrassed Fatah officials. Shin Bet refused to comment on the reports.
However, Hamas officials replied the report and expressed disappointment, claiming that the meeting between Israeli intelligence and them was less a consultation and more a series of home raids and interrogations.
The former Hamas Prisoner Affairs minister Wasfi Qabaha, whose house was searched, said he would not call the incident a meeting: ‘it was rather a raid on our homes by Israeli forces and intelligence officers which terrified our children.’
This news comes few days before the meeting between Hamas and Fatah officials, scheduled to take place this week in Damascus, as part of an effort to reconcile the two rival groups and especially to discuss about the ratification of the Egyptian proposal.