Hamas threatens to exit national unity government with PA

Public employees in Gaza go on strike over salary dispute; "Every day, the government proves it is a government of division and not national consensus," says Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri.

Palestinian children look out through a hole covered with a blanket in their home in Gaza City, January 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian children look out through a hole covered with a blanket in their home in Gaza City, January 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas announced on Monday that it has taken a “political decision” to abandon the national consensus government with the Palestinian Authority.
The announcement came amid rising tensions between Hamas and the PA following the latter’s refusal to pay salaries to Palestinians employed by the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
The two rival parties are also continuing to fight over responsibility for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following Operation Protective Edge.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri accused the PA government of turning its back on the Gaza Strip.
He said that in light of the decision not to pay Hamas public workers, his movement has taken a “political decision” to quit the government, which was established following last year’s reconciliation pact between the two parties.
“The government has given up its responsibility toward the Gaza Strip, especially the public employees,” al-Masri charged. “Every day, the government proves that it is a government of division and not national consensus. This is a factional government that does not belong to the people.”
The Hamas spokesman called on the government, which Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah heads, to “prove its loyalty to the people and not to [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.”
He held Abbas and his Fatah faction responsible for “hindering” the process of reconciliation with Hamas.
On Sunday, Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the deepening crisis with the PA government.
At the meeting, Hamas representatives called for the establishment of an emergency committee to administer the Strip.
However, two Palestinian groups; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, strongly opposed Hamas’s intention to establish a new administration in Gaza, Palestinian sources said.
The two groups expressed fear that such a move would escalate tensions between Fatah and Hamas and result in the creation of a separate government in the Gaza Strip – a step that would have a negative impact on efforts to persuade the international community to channel funds for the reconstruction of Gaza.
Instead, Hamas and the Palestinian factions decided to establish a committee to follow up on the implementation of the reconciliation pact with Fatah.
Meanwhile, public employees in the Strip went on strike on Monday as they have not received their salaries for the past year.
The strike halted work in four ministries: Public Works, Labor, Justice and Women’s Affairs.
The striking employees condemned the PA government for refusing to pay salaries to public workers employed by Hamas after its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.