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Palestinian Reconciliation at Stake

Palestinian Reconciliation at Stake

Monday, 27 November, 2017 - 13:30
Hamas dissolves its Gaza administration and accepts Fatah general elections proposal in bid to end Palestinian divide. (AFP)

Hamas and Fatah began exchanging accusations for the first time since the reconciliation had been signed in Egypt last month after Fatah officials declared that only "one weapon" is allowed in Gaza Strip.

Based on the agreement, the first phase of the reconciliation should be concluded by enabling the Palestinian Authority (PA) government to take full control as of December 1. However, Fatah member Hussein al-Sheikh raised several suspicions whether the process can be completed amid the major security, financial, and administrative problems.

Sheikh on Sunday said the PA government had assumed control of just five percent of the Gaza Strip. He accused Hamas of postponing the implementation of the accord.

“The [PA] government until this moment, financially, administratively and security-wise, has not been set up [in Gaza] more than five percent,” Sheikh said.

He said Hamas has not permitted PA ministers to take control of their old offices in Gaza and thousands before Hamas’s takeover of the strip in 2007.

The Palestinian minister also said the PA has not been able to set up an effective tax collection system.

“Our crews are barefoot at the crossings,” he said, adding, “setting up the [PA government] at the crossings is compromised by the lack of security.”

Sheikh's statement confirms government's former accusations that it hadn't been able to set up in Gaza and raises fears that the current reconciliation could fail.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced earlier that without actually enabling it of its duties, then the government will not succeed in Gaza.

So far, Fatah refuses to discuss other issues with Hamas before the government is in full control of the strip. Hamas previously denied Fatah's statement claiming the government is not in full control, adding that the government had indeed taken control of Gaza.

Technically, the negotiations can behind about this issue, however it seems complicated especially when it comes to the security issue which became a major obstacle especially after PA insisted on imposing its security control over Gaza without Hamas' involvement.

Hamas warned that it won't bargain its weapon.

Sheikh reiterated that the issue of Hamas’s weapons is a major obstacle between the two sides.

“Weapons are not a factional or an organizational issue. We will not allow anything but one gun and one law” said Sheikh.

Thousands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters are inside of Gaza, as al-Qassam Brigades compose the biggest force in the strip with light weapons, missiles, thousands of trained armed men, and tunnels.

Senior Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zurhi lashed at Sheikh’s comments saying they were a the same rhetoric as that of the occupation.

“Hussein al-Sheikh’s statements regarding disarming the resistance from its weapons reflects ill intentions and is a repeat of the demand of the occupation,” Zuhri said on his Twitter account, adding that Hamas’s disarmament is a “mere pipe dream.”

Hamas top official Yehia Moussa described Sheikh's statements as "shameless", adding that recent Fatah's statements had been condescending, racist, and underestimating of the Palestinian people who are now aware of who is hindering the reconciliation.

He also indicated that when Sheikh is asking to discuss the resistance's weapons, he is speaking on the behalf of US and Israel.

Moussa also declared that everyone knows the government has been enabled in the strip, but Fatah wants to add new conditions.

Fatah spokesperson Jamal Nazzal stated that Hamas needs to alter its language to meet the requirements of the reconciliation. He added Hamas' rhetoric and media should meet with the good morals of the Palestinian people, especially during the reconciliation and required positive atmosphere.

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