The Palestinian Authority on Saturday accused Hamas of exploiting peaceful protests against the high cost of living to spread chaos and anarchy in the West Bank.

Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, also accused Hamas of working to overthrow the PA regime in the West Bank.

Damiri claimed that the PA security forces have received information about Hamas’s efforts to destabilize the situation in the West Bank.

Damiri did not provide further details.

However, he told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that Hamas has never stopped trying to “export its coup to the West Bank and spark violence and discord among Palestinians.”

PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash also accused Hamas of conspiring against the PA leadership in the West Bank.

Habbash called on Palestinians to be on alert to foil the schemes of “those who are trying to destroy and sabotage the resources of the Palestinians and spread chaos among our people to serve the interest of occupation and its expansionist goals.”

Habbash pointed out that Hamas leaders and spokesmen were using the same rhetoric as Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas, he added, “is standing in the same line with the extremist Liberman and occupation.”

Habbash, who was speaking during Friday prayers in Ramallah, called on Palestinians to direct their frustration toward Israel and the settlements.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that the recent wave of protests in the West Bank was proof that the Oslo Accords have failed.

He said that Israel has used the Oslo Accords to confiscate lands and “kill the Palestinians’ spirit of resistance and steadfastness.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency that the protests in the West Bank were the result of linking the Palestinian economy to Israel and the US.

He said that the situation in the Gaza Strip was better than the West Bank and Hamas was paying full salaries to it employees.

Zahar said that all the money that the PA transfers to the Gaza Strip is going only to Fatah loyalists.

Asked what would happen if the PA collapses, he said: “The alternative is ready – the program of resistance.”

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