The Cradle
PA president meets with Israeli intel chief to ‘combat’ Hamas influence in West Bank: Report
The backroom meeting was reportedly part of the Israeli government's efforts to strengthen the PA and weaken Hamas
By News Desk - November 16 2021
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Reports in Israeli media on 16 November claim that the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, met with new Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar in Ramallah last week to discuss efforts to “combat Hamas influence in the West Bank.”

According to the reports, Bar’s meeting with Abbas is part of the occupation government’s policy to actively strengthen the PA and weaken Hamas.

The Israeli intelligence chief also visited Egypt over the weekend, as Cairo has been leading efforts since 2014 to establish agreements concerning an extended ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

According to an in-depth investigation by The Cradle, Hamas has asked that Israel “cleanse” their prisons of Palestinian inmates, demanding the release of prisoners with long-term sentences, political and military leaders, Jerusalemites, 1948 Palestinians, women, children, the sick, and administrative detainees.

Sources in the resistance have also revealed that these negotiations have started to move forward again after Washington asked the Israelis not to link the prisoner swap deal with other issues related to Gaza.

However, the news of the meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Ronen Bar also comes as the PA continues to lose credibility across the occupied West Bank, with many Palestinians saying the Fatah party is corrupt and ineffective at fighting for their rights against the occupation.

Most recently, hundreds of West Bank residents took to the streets to protest the murder of well-known activist and PA critic Nizar Banat, who was reportedly beaten to death in his sleep by PA forces. On top of this, the security forces have cracked down on alleged Hamas members and supporters in the occupied West Bank in recent months, arresting dozens of activists under these allegations.

According to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research in September, 78 percent of Palestinians want to see PA President Mahmoud Abbas step down.