(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas have been trying over the past several months to advance reconciliation efforts and end the political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Despite making little progress, the PA has continued to send its ministers and top officials to Gaza. However, following an explosion that struck PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Services chief Majid Faraj’s motorcade on Tuesday, the PA may hesitate before sending its top officials to the small coastal enclave, setting the already stagnated reconciliation process back even further.
Both Hamdallah and Faraj have traveled to Gaza three times in the past six months. Every time they went there, they were accompanied by dozens of personal security guards.
While their personal security guards have been responsible for their immediate safety, the Hamas-dominated security forces have been in charge of security at the different places to which they have traveled including roads, hotels and government offices.
When Hamdallah, Faraj and other PA officials have traveled to Gaza, members of the Hamas-run security forces were seen in pictures and videos standing in and around all the places they have visited.
For the most part, the PA has appeared to be comfortable with the security arrangements for its officials’ visits to Gaza. In some cases, some PA officials have spent several nights and even weeks in Gaza.
However, after the explosion on Tuesday, in which the PA said Hamdallah survived an assassination attempt, its trust in the Hamas-run security forces to secure the visits of their officials to Gaza has likely diminished.
Lacking confidence in the Hamas-dominated security forces, PA officials may think twice before going to Gaza, putting yet another obstacle in the way of progress in the reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah.