Palestinians face their hour of division

Time difference exists between the West bank and Gaza as the PA returns to summer time after Ramadan while Hamas does not.

September 6, 2011 18:17
1 minute read.
PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh

PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

GAZA - "What time is it?" is a tricky question these days in the Palestinian Territories.

In a case of rare agreement, the Palestinian Authority that governs in the West Bank and its rival, the Islamist Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip, went off summer time on Aug. 1, falling back an hour to ease the daily fast, ending at sunset, of Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

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The West Bank returned to summer time on Aug. 30, when the holiday ended. Gaza, which is separated from the West Bank by Israeli territory, did not.

Compounding the confusion, banks and universities in Gaza affiliated with the Palestinian Authority are keeping West Bank hours.

"When my wife calls me, she asks whether I want to have lunch Gaza-time or West Bank-time," a Gaza banker said. "It is ridiculous."

A solution to the time problem might have to await a so-far elusive unity deal between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. They fought a brief civil war in 2007 that left Gaza under Hamas control.

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