Hamas Accuses PA of Causing Violence in Gaza

Hamas’s interior ministry claims PA security forces are behind a wave of violence in Gaza.

Elad Benari,

Hamas press conference
Hamas press conference
Mohammed Othman/Flash 90

Hamas’s interior ministry in Gaza on Saturday accused the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces of being behind a wave of violence in the coastal enclave, AFP reported.

The ministry’s spokesman Iyad al-Bozum accused "members of the former security establishment in Gaza" of "exploiting the difficult conditions, especially since the last war, to spread chaos and confusion with explosions, car burnings and shootings."

The war to which he referred was last summer's conflict with Israel.

Bozum did not elaborate, but explosions have targeted vehicles used by Hamas in recent months, as well as some owned by members of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party.

He told a news conference investigations had shown the incidents were "the result of plans by security chiefs in Ramallah," headquarters of the PA.

Bozum added they were aimed at "spreading chaos in Gaza in order to cover up the government's failure and absolve him (Abbas) from any responsibility", according to AFP.

Bozum told reporters several suspects have been arrested and played recordings he said were of them, their voices distorted and images blurred.

He added that they were members of the PA security services in Gaza before 2007 claiming to have carried out the attacks after receiving orders from Ramallah.

WAFA, the official PA news agency, issued a statement from Fatah rejecting the accusation.

It reported Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmi as dismissing "Hamas lies that nobody believes because everyone knows it imposes its will by force."

Qawasmi accused Hamas itself of "being behind explosions and car burnings."

The back and forth accusations demonstrate the ongoing tensions between longtime rivals Hamas and Fatah, despite the fact that the two sides last year signed a reconciliation agreement that led to the formation of a unity government.

This past week, the PA’s security services launched a crackdown on Hamas members in Judea and Samaria, arresting more than 100 members of Hamas in Ramallah, Hevron, Tulkarm and other cities.

Despite the unity agreement, the PA has continuously arrested members of Hamas in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.

The reconciliation attempt has been rocked by tensions, most notably Hamas's attempt to stage a violent coup in Judea and Samaria against the Palestinian Authority.

The sides have most recently quarreled over the PA’s refusal to take responsibility for the employees from the former-Hamas run government, a key Hamas demand.

Hamas employees were enraged in June when the new unity government did not pay their salaries at the start of the month, despite the 70,000 PA employees in Gaza being able to withdraw their paychecks. The rage boiled over into fistfights, with Hamas eventually shutting down all the banks in Gaza for roughly a week.




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