Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad (L) and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
More than 90 percent of Gaza Strip residents want to leave because of Hamas, Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said on Wednesday.
Addressing Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the Fatah spokesman asked: “Do you know that more than 90 percent of our people in the Gaza Strip want to emigrate, if given the chance, so they could escape from your regime? Do you feel any national responsibility toward the Palestinians and their cause?” Qawassmeh accused Hamas of killing Palestinians and lying. He claimed that Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007 was “one of the most important Israeli strategic goals.”
He accused Hamas of barring student, union and municipal elections in the Gaza Strip over the past eight years.
Qawassmeh accused Hamas of waging a smear campaign against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah after last summer’s military confrontation with Israel.
Hamas has been cracking down on Fatah members in the Gaza Strip by detaining and interrogating many of them, he added.
The Fatah spokesman held Hamas responsible for hindering efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. Hamas has imposed taxes in goods entering the Gaza Strip and “flooded the local market with Israeli products,” he said.
Qawassmeh’s attack on Hamas coincided with the arrest of several Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip over the past 48 hours.
Hamas detained for interrogation Hatem Othman, Jon Musleh, Mu’men Abu Samra, Awad Musleh, Khaled al-Masari, Raed Saker, Muhammad al-Askari and Rami al-Jarba, sources in the Gaza Strip said.
Othman, a Fatah member, was transferred to the hospital for treatment after he had his leg broken during the interrogation, the sources said.
According to the sources, the Fatah members targeted by Hamas are affiliated with ousted Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan, who is currently based in the United Arab Emirates. The Fatah men had participated in a series of protests in the Gaza Strip against Abbas’s decision to cut their salaries because of their affiliation with his rival Dahlan.