Israel has sent around 150 pro-Fatah Palestinians who fled fighting in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to the West Bank, reversing a decision to send them back to Gaza. The Israeli government said their lives would be in danger if they returned to the Hamas-controlled territory. Eleven people died in factional fighting in Gaza at the weekend.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas initially wanted the men to go back to Gaza to maintain a Fatah presence but has agreed to their transfer to the West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli security agents have been accused of denying medical care to some Palestinians who refused to act as informants.
Spokesperson for Physicians for Human Rights Doctor Ruchana Marton said: “The Shabak (Israeli intelligence) uses the weakness, the helplessness of the Palestinian patients in Gaza to try to force them, to pressure them, to be collaborators.”
Government spokesperson David Baker denied the claims. He said: “The allegation that receiving medical treatment in Israek is conditional upon providing information to Israel’s security services is simply ludicrous.”
The number of Gazans seeking care in Israel has doubled since Hamas seized power over a year ago. Since then an Israeli blockade there has led to failing health services.