Hamas strongly attacked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, accusing him of imposing harsh measures against the Gaza Strip, shortly after Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah called on the movement to support the president.
Hamdallah asked Hamas to hand over Gaza and stand united behind Abbas for the sake of unity, but the movement responded with an attack on Abbas, calling on Europeans and Arabs to intervene immediately and urgently to stop what it called “the massacre led by Abbas against the Gaza Strip,” in return “for cheap political gains”.
The heated rhetoric by both sides will likely further impede Egypt’s efforts to implement the reconciliation between the two rival Palestinian factions that was reached in October 2017.
In remarks on Sunday, the prime minister said: “Efforts to protect the land and preserve its identity can be achieved by strengthening the unity of the people, land and institutions.”
He also urged Hamas to participate in the Palestinian National Council, stressing that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian National Council is scheduled to meet on April 30 in Ramallah to elect a new executive committee for the PLO.
Hamas, for its part, warned of “the continuation of Abbas' retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip and the recent blocking of salaries of PA employees.” It described these actions as “being devoid of all moral, national and humanitarian values and principles.”
Hamas expressed its full solidarity with the demands of all employees without exception. It called on all Palestinians, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the United Nations and the European Union to assume their responsibilities and to “intervene immediately and urgently to stop this massacre and disregard for the lives of two million Palestinians in Gaza, who are living in the worst possible conditions.”
The attack launched by Hamas clearly represents complications in resuming reconciliation efforts in the Gaza Strip.
Cairo is trying hard to defuse the crisis that erupted in the wake of last month’s assassination attempt against Hamdallah in Gaza, which caused deeper disagreements between Fatah and Hamas.
The PA insisted on handing over the Gaza Strip completely, a demand that was rejected by the movement. It also accused Hamas of being behind the assassination.