Hamas Denies Fatah Delegation Entry to Gaza
Despite the recent reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, tensions are continuing and on Saturday, Hamas denied a delegation of senior Fatah officials entry to Gaza.
“When we wanted to enter Gaza Hamas security forces came, took our ID cards and made us wait for over an hour,” the officials told the WAFA news agency. “We decided not to enter and return to Ramallah.”
WAFA reported the members of the delegation were supposed to tour Gaza and meet with senior Fatah and Hamas leaders, but Hamas decided to deny them entry. This is despite the fact that the agreement signed between the two factions in Cairo stated explicitly that entry into Gaza and Ramallah will be free and without restrictions.
Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority have condemned the move, saying it was a blunt violation of the Cairo agreement blunt.
“We must not surrender to those who violently took control of Gaza and are interested in continuing the inter-Palestinian conflict,” a senior Fatah official, Azzam al-Ahmed, was quoted as having said.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf, meanwhile, called on Hamas’ politburo chief Khaled Mashal to condemn the behavior of Hamas’ leaders in Gaza and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.
“This move was designed to sabotage the reconciliation,” Assaf was quoted as having said.
Hamas recently agreed to join the Palestine Liberation Organization after years of reconciliation talks, agreements, broken deals and then more negotiations. The decision came during after meetings in Cairo.
Despite the announcement, however, tensions have continued between the two rival factions. Although Hamas recently threw a massive celebration to mark the 24th anniversary of its founding, it recently banned any similar festivities in Gaza to likewise mark the anniversary of the founding of the rival Fatah faction.
Hamas, which has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since 2007, has also been critical of the PA’s attempt to resume peace negotiations with Israel.
Earlier this week, Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said that talks between PA and Israeli envoys in Amman would damage Fatah's reconciliation deal with the terror group.
"We consider these meetings a blow for national reconciliation, especially as we agreed in Cairo to face Israel's settlements, wall, and attacks together," Radwan said.
On Thursday, a Hamas official slammed Jordan’s King Abdullah for hosting the talks, warning that his fate is to “eventually go away” as did former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak.
The official also slammed PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and charged him with attempting to appease the U.S. and Europe.