Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas warned on Monday that it wouldn’t allow the Gaza Strip to slide into anarchy and lawlessness.
The warning came amid growing tensions among members of the rival Fatah faction. The tensions erupted after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to cut off salaries of more than 200 Fatah officials and activists suspected of being affiliated with his political rival, Mohamed Dahlan.
The tensions in Fatah spilled into violence over the past week as Dahlan’s supporters attacked Abbas loyalists on a number of occasions.
“Hamas won’t allow the Fatah infighting to lead to anarchy and lawlessness,” said Hamas official Salah Bardaweel. He also denied charges that Hamas was “agitating” tensions between the two rival parties.
Bardaweel’s remarks came in response to a statement by Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh, who claimed that Hamas was responsible for the current dispute between Abbas and Dahlan loyalists.
Abbas’s decision to stop paying salaries to more than 200 officials and activists in the Gaza Strip drew sharp condemnations from senior Fatah officials, including some who are not affiliated with Dahlan, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates ever since he fell out with the PA president four years ago.
Earlier this week, Abbas also decided to stop paying salaries to some 130 community leaders in the Gaza Strip who are also suspected of being affiliated with Dahlan.
Tawfik Tirawi, member of the Fatah Central Committee and a former PA security chief in the West Bank, denounced Abbas’s move, calling it a “mistake.”
Tirawi said that whoever made the decision to cut off the payments to the Fatah members should have first verified the charges against them and resorted to legal measures instead of denying them their only source of income.
Enraged Dahlan supporters last week staged a number of protests in the Gaza Strip and called on Abbas to rescind his decision. The protesters assaulted Abbas loyalists during a meeting at a Gaza City hotel. They are also suspected of being behind an attack on a Fatah-affiliated organization that provides financial aid to the families of Palestinian prisoners and “martyrs.”