Hamas to Abbas: Lift punitive measures against the people of Gaza

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September 19, 2017 08:43

Fatah and Hamas officials are slated to meet in Cairo in the next week to discuss reconciliation.

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A Palestinian woman stands by a fence during a protest calling for an end to the power crisis, outsi

A Palestinian woman stands by a fence during a protest calling for an end to the power crisis, outside the power plant in the central Gaza Strip April 23, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hamas has called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel punitive measures the PA enacted against it over the past five months. The measures include budgets cuts for essential services in Gaza.

“Abu Mazen must undertake urgent action to abrogate all the punitive decisions and measures against the people of the Strip,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Monday in a statement on the Islamist group’s official website, using Abbas’s longtime nom de guerre.

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The call came a day after Hamas announced the dissolution of its governing body in the Gaza Strip, also known as the administrative committee, and invited the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to take its place.

Over the past five months, Abbas has ordered a series of cuts to budgets allocated to Gaza for electricity, medical services, government employees’ salaries and other purposes to pressure Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee and permit the PA to operate in its place.

In a statement on Sunday, the PA president appeared to be in no hurry to cancel the measures. While Abbas told official PA media that he was satisfied with Hamas’s announcement that it was doing away with its administrative committee, he did not mention if he planned to rescind the measures.

Abbas is currently in New York City to participate in the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad on Sunday said that the measures would be rescinded only when the PA returns to its work in Gaza in accordance with the law.

“When the [PA] government returns...,” Ahmad said in an interview with PA television, “it will be a foregone conclusion that the unprecedented measures will end.”

Ahmad did not specify what law he was alluding to. However, Palestinian officials have frequently stated that the law mandates that the PA run all of Gaza’s ministries, including those related to security.

On Monday, Hamas called on the PA to take responsibility for Gaza immediately, but did not say if it intended to allow it to take over the territory’s security institutions. In previous reconciliation talks, Hamas rebuffed efforts to replace its security forces with those of the PA.

Fatah and Hamas officials are slated to meet in Cairo in the next week to discuss reconciliation, including how the PA plans to take full responsibility for Gaza.


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