PA 'ready' to take Gaza if Hamas ousted
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said Saturday that they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel succeeds in overthrowing the Hamas government.
"Yes, we are fully prepared to return to the Gaza Strip," a top PA official told The Jerusalem Post. "We believe the people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government."
Another PA official said Fatah had instructed all its members in the Gaza Strip to be prepared for the possibility of returning to power.
"We have enough men in the Gaza Strip who are ready to fill the vacuum," he said. "But of course all this depends on whether Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime."
The two officials voiced hope that the current IDF operation would end Hamas rule in Gaza. They said that the PA was also prepared to dispatch security forces from the West Bank to replace the Hamas militiamen.
However, they denied Hamas allegations that the PA had urged Israel to launch a massive attack to overthrow the Hamas government.
Also Saturday, Fatah called on its supporters in the Strip to storm Hamas-controlled prisons to release Fatah detainees. The call came as most of Hamas's security installations were demolished by IAF planes.
Fatah representatives in the West Bank said that Hamas was holding more than 250 Fatah men in its various prisons throughout the Gaza Strip. They expressed fear that Hamas would use the detainees as human shields against the Israeli air strikes.
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