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Tuesday, November 17, 2009     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Palestinian brands Hamas 'rogue government' in Gaza, plans ouster from West Bank

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority plans to purge Hamas members from West Bank government.   

Officials said the PA was drafting measures with the Palestinian Liberation Organization that would expel any Hamas member from public office in the West Bank, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the campaign was meant as a response to Hamas's refusal to form a national unity government and agree to the PA return to the Gaza Strip.

"Until now, we have respected the elections of all Hamas members, despite the rogue regime in the Gaza Strip," an official said. "Now, that Hamas shows no interest in reconciliation and has removed all PA officials from the Gaza Strip, we will do the same in the West Bank."

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The PA and PLO have discussed the expulsion of Hamas members from the Palestinian Legislative Council, where Hamas won a majority in elections in 2006. Under the plan, the PA would transfer authority of the PLC to the PLO's Palestinian National Council, dominated by the ruling Fatah movement.

PNC chairman Salim Zanoun said the first stage of the plan would be approved in December 2009. On Nov. 15, Zanoun told an audience in the West Bank city of Nablus that the authority of the PLC would be transferred to the PLO's Central Council. He said the council would then draft legislation without Hamas interference.

Officials said the plan was meant to circumvent PA elections called by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for January 2010. Hamas has warned that it would not allow such elections to take place in the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since 2007.

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