HAMAS sounded 3 conditions for negotiations with Fatah

Tue, 18.04.2017 14:21

Hamas on Tuesday set three conditions for sitting down with a delegation from rival Palestinian movement Fatah, which is expected to visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip within days.

“We will not sit down with the delegation before [Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas retreats from his recent decisions to cut the salaries of [Palestinian Authority] employees working in Gaza, reduce subsidies for Gaza’s poor, and raise taxes on Gaza’s only functioning power plant," leading Hamas member Khalil al-Hayya said at a Tuesday press conference.

“We further demand that any meeting with the Fatah delegation be held in the presence of the other Palestinian factions that they might be witness to the talks," he said. 

He added: "We have been shocked by President Abbas’ threats against the people of Gaza, who deserve to live in dignity like anyone else."

Al-Hayya went on to assert that recent moves by Abbas constituted “collective punishment for all Gazans, regardless of their political affiliations -- even those that belong to Fatah itself”.

Last week, Abbas announced plans to take "unprecedented steps” in regards to the Gaza Strip, which has been governed by Hamas since 2007.

“We are passing through a very dangerous situation that requires us to take decisive steps," Abbas said in a speech delivered to Palestinian diplomats in Bahrain. 

While Abbas did not specify as to what “decisive steps” would be taken, some observers believe he is preparing to sever the Ramallah-based government's relations with Gaza if Hamas rejects his demand to dissolve a recently formed “administrative committee”.

The administrative committee was drawn up by Hamas last month to coordinate between various ministries and departments of the Hamas-run Gaza government.

The Ramallah government, which, like the Palestinian Authority (PA), is led by Abbas’s Fatah movement, is responsible for paying the salaries of some 60,000 PA employees in Gaza and providing health and education services to the strip’s roughly 2 million inhabitants.

The Ramallah-based government also coordinates with Israel with a view to providing Gaza with electricity and supervising the import of goods into the Israeli-blockaded strip.

Early this month, PA employees who work in the Gaza Strip were dismayed to find that the Ramallah government had cut their March salaries by some 30 percent.

Rami al-Hamdallah, head of the Ramallah government, has since said that PA employees in the Gaza Strip would receive their full salaries depending on the availability of funds and Hamas’s response to certain political demands.

In 2014, Hamas and Fatah -- which govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively -- agreed in principle to establish a unity government.

The so-called “unity government” in Ramallah, however, has so far failed to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding differences between the two rival factions.

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Source: aa.com.tr

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