The Palestinian Authority has expressed outrage over the arrest of Hamas officials in the West Bank by the Israel Defense Forces -- even though the Palestinian Authority itself has also been arresting Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority claims that the Israeli arrests are aimed at sabotaging the "reconciliation" process between Fatah and Hamas. But the truth is that the Israeli clampdown on Hamas in the West Bank is first and foremost designed to help Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
The Palestinian Authority is fighting Hamas in the West Bank because it fears that the Islamist movement is working to undermine Abbas and Fayyad. Israel is fighting Hamas to prevent terror attacks and stop the movement from toppling the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas alone cannot fight Hamas; he needs Israel's help -- and gets it. He knows that without the Israeli security crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, his regime would not be able to remain in power for one day.
Still, this has not stopped the Palestinian Authority from endorsing a hypocritical stance by condemning the arrests of Hamas figures and urging the international community to intervene with Israel to secure their release. Instead of condemning Israel, the Palestinian Authority should be thanking the IDF for making an effort to prevent Hamas from seizing control over the West Bank.
In the past two months, Palestinian security forces have arrested more than 70 Palestinians on suspicion of membership in Hamas. Dozens of others have been summoned for interrogation by various branches of the Palestinian security forces.
According to Hamas sources, thousands of Palestinians have been arrested by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank over the past four years. At least two detainees have died as a result of torture in Palestinian prisons.
The Palestinian Authority has also fired thousands of school teachers and government employees suspected of being affiliated with Hamas and other opposition groups.
The Palestinian Authority has, in addition, closed several institutions in the West Bank, such as charities and media offices funded by Hamas, for the same reason. This effort was undertaken as part of Abbas's efforts to undermine the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank: Palestinian Authority officials believe that these institutions were being used as a cover for terror activities.
All this has been going on despite the talk about "reconciliation" between Hamas and Fatah -- the ruling party in the West Bank.
But when Israel last week arrested Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was the first to condemn the move and call for his immediate release.
Moreover, Abbas instructed his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, to present an official request to Israel to release Dweik and 20 other senior Hamas officials held in Israeli prisons.
At the same time that Erekat was submitting the request to Israeli envoy Issac Molcho, Abbas's security forces were rounding up university students in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron for allegedly being affiliated with Hamas.
While those arrested by israel are permitted to see a lawyer and family members, detainees in Palestinian prisons often complain about torture and most are denied the right to consult with an attorney.
Why does the Western media keep reinforcing these double-standards instead of exposing them? Their collusion in concealing the truth only plays into the hands of the dictators and extremists.