Amid mounting tensions, Hamas urges Abbas to lift Gaza Strip sanctions

The appeal came amid mounting tensions between the two parties, especially after the delivery of Qatari-funded fuel to the only power plant in the Gaza Strip this week.

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October 11, 2018 20:58
2 minute read.
Palestinian president Abbas stands between PM Haniyeh and senior Fatah leader Dahlan in Gaza

Palestinian president Abbas stands between PM Haniyeh and senior Fatah leader Dahlan in Gaza. (photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)

 
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Hamas repeated its call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to lift the sanctions he imposed last year on the Gaza Strip.

The appeal came amid mounting tensions between the two parties, especially after the delivery of Qatari-funded fuel to the only power plant in the Gaza Strip this week.

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The fuel, which was purchased in Israel, was delivered through the Kerem Shalom border crossing as part of an effort to solve the severe power shortage in the Gaza Strip. At present, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip get only four to five hours of electricity each day because of the PA’s refusal too pay for the fuel needed to keep the power plant operating round the clock.

Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk wrote on Twitter that it would be better for Abbas to help solve the problems of the Gaza Strip instead of leveling accusations against Hamas.

“Here’s advice to President Abbas,” Abu Marzouk said, “instead of making accusations against Hamas – that it is holding the people hostage and is part of the ‘deal of the century’ and does not care about the plight of the people – why don’t you do the opposite and win the support of the people by solving the problems of electricity, water and salaries and ending the blockade? Make the people feel that you are with them. Light another bulb instead of turning off a candle.”

The “deal of the century” refers to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East.

Palestinians claim that the unseen plan is aimed at “liquidating” the Palestinian cause and national rights.

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Abbas and several PA officials have accused Hamas of being part of Trump’s plan by conducting indirect negotiations with Israel to reach a truce agreement in the Gaza Strip. They claim that the proposed truce agreement would pave the way for “solidifying” the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and creating a separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

The PA has expressed opposition to the Qatari initiative to purchase fuel for the power plant in the Gaza Strip, arguing that any fuel should be channeled through the Ramallah-based government. The PA also fears that the move would embolden Hamas and sabotage Egyptian efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah rift.

Meanwhile, Hamas leaders on Thursday briefed representatives of other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip on the latest developments surrounding the efforts to achieve a truce agreement with Israel.

On Wednesday, a senior Hamas official revealed that the transfer of the fuel bought by Qatar was in the context of Egyptian and United Nations efforts to reach a truce agreement.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that the Hamas leaders told the faction representatives that they did not believe that a deal can be reached between their movement and Abbas in the near future. The Hamas leaders, the sources added, said that their number one priority now was to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and remove the blockade there.

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