Hamas: Efforts underway to prevent war

Despite saying that the group doesn't want another conflict, Politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahar said Hamas is "preparing well" for war.

February 19, 2018 09:52
1 minute read.
Palestinians parade during celebrations after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fa

Palestinians parade during celebrations after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City, October 12, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)

Hamas officials and Palestinian politicians allied with exiled Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan have discussed the establishment of a joint administration for the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Yousif, a Hamas official, said in an interview published on Sunday in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad.

Last Monday in Cairo, Hamas Politburo chairman Ismail Haniyeh and a number of other senior officials in the Islamist movement met with Samir Masharawi and Sufian Abu Zaida, Palestinian politicians closely connected to Dahlan.

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“The meeting included a discussion about forming a joint administration for the Gaza Strip, which would include... Hamas, Dahlan’s group and any of the national and Islamic factions who wish to participate,” Yousif said in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper.

The Hamas official made the comments after Hamas and Fatah leaders in the West Bank failed to implement a deal to advance reconciliation efforts.

In mid-October 2017, Hamas and Ramallah-based Fatah officials agreed to restore the PA’s governing authority in Gaza by December 1, 2017. Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory in 2007.

Yousif, however, added that the creation of a joint administration would only be advanced if the PA continues to avoid taking responsibility for Gaza.

“Hamas is moving toward a partnership with Dahlan in administrating the Gaza Strip, alongside Palestinians factions and powers... if Dr. Rami Hamdallah’s government continues to evade taking responsibility of the Strip,” he said, referring to the PA prime minister.

The PA holds that Hamas is preventing it from taking responsibility for Gaza, barring it from collecting taxes and taking control of security there.

Hamas maintains that it has undertaken every effort to enable the PA to operate in Gaza.

Dahlan, who is closely connected to officials in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, is a top rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He has harshly criticized Abbas’s leadership and accused him of corruption.

For his part, Abbas in the past several years has moved to isolate Dahlan and his influence, sidelining Palestinian politicians closely connected to him.

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