NEW YORK – Palestinian Authority security forces acted to stop protests in the West Bank meant to support the flotilla initiative to end Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, WND has learned.
A senior PA negotiator, speaking by cell phone from Ramallah on condition of anonymity, said the PA views the flotilla initiative with disdain. He said the flotillas were simply excuses to break the naval embargo of Gaza so that Hamas can use the sea to re-arm.
Hamas and the PA have been rivals since the Islamist Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, forcibly expelling PA security forces from the territory.
Solidarity marches and protests were held throughout Gaza and the Arab world the past few days in support of the flotilla initiative.
Notably quiet, however, was the West Bank, where, according to West Bank security sources, PA police worked to quell any attempts at protests in support of the rival Hamas or the flotilla initiative.
The PA negotiator also said the U.S. believes any serious investigation into Israel’s raid of a violent flotilla earlier this week can change the makeup of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, even if the investigation is carried out by an Israeli commission.
The negotiator said the U.S. believes there were serious flaws in the Israeli government’s decision-making process that resulted in sending in a small commando force that was immediately overwhelmed by the flotilla’s activists.
“There is a consensus in the White House that an investigation can explode the Netanyahu government,” the PA official said.
Israel maintains a naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza, fearing if it allows ships to reach the territory, Hamas can obtain weaponry to be used against Israelis.
Israel and the international community numerous times have stopped ships loaded with weapons destined for Gaza.
Despite claims by activists, Israel does not block humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel allows a large number of trucks daily to enter Gaza with food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. Israel transfers monthly into Gaza tens of millions of dollars worth of Israeli shekels to ensure the flow of cash in the territory.
Israel imposed a blockade on certain supplies it fears could be used by Hamas to build a military infrastructure.
Netanyahu yesterday told an emergency meeting of his defense cabinet the blockade must be maintained to keep weapons from reaching terrorists.
“Opening a naval route to Gaza will present an enormous danger to the security of our citizens,” he said.
Prior to its raid of the flotillas earlier this week, Israel asked the ships’ commanders to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod so customs officials could inspect the cargo for weapons while transferring any aid into Gaza.