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Tuesday, May 4, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Cash-starved Hamas cracks down on PFLP

GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime has launched a crackdown on a major Palestinian faction.


Hamas has been arresting members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the wake of criticism by the Marxist faction of the Islamic regime.

The Hamas crackdown came amid a financial crisis in the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials acknowledged that the regime has been unable to pay the salaries of 32,000 civil servants for the second straight month as the regime imposed taxes on cigarettes, fuel, automobiles and property.

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On April 27, PFLP issued a statement that accused Hamas of imposing arbitrary and exhorbitant taxes on residents of the Gaza Strip.

"The right to freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international conventions," the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.

Hours after the PFLP statement, Hamas security forces raided the homes of several key members. Palestinian sources said 15 PFLP operatives were detained from such locations as Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalya, Shati and Tel El Hawa.

"These measures taken by the security service in the Gaza Strip constitute a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international conventions," PCHR said on April 29.

The human rights center said PFLP operatives were interrogated regarding the statement against Hamas. PCHR said the detainees, 11 of them released on April 28, had been ill-treated.

At the same time, Hamas police and Internal Security Service officers attacked PFLP and tried to break into the movement's office in Khan Yunis on April 28. Palestinian sources said PFLP leaders in Gaza City and Syria have intervened in an effort to end the Hamas crackdown.

"PCHR confirms the right of political opposition to express political opinion, including criticizing the government, and opposing its policy through all forms ensured by the law, including press releases, peaceful demonstrations and all forms of peaceful protest," the human rights group said.

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