Fatah to Hamas: Dismantle the government in Gaza

Fatah-Hamas dispute continues, demonstrating again that Gaza is now an independent Palestinian entity.

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Dalit Halevi,

Azzam al-Ahmad
Azzam al-Ahmad
Flash 90

Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee who is responsible for internal Palestinian affairs, revealed on Tuesday that over the past 10 days he had held direct and indirect contacts, through other countries, with the leadership of Hamas.

In a message to the Hamas leadership, Ahmad said, "We want to implement the reconciliation in one package deal. You must dismantle the executive committee you set up to manage the affairs of the Gaza Strip."

He urged Hamas to agree to reconciliation by warning the group against Israel's "abominable" plans to establish sovereignty in Jerusalem and damage the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"Is the Al-Aqsa Mosque not worthy of all the nationals uniting to defend it and the future of the Palestinian problem?" Ahmad asked.

In recent months, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has taken a series of punitive measures against Hamas authorities, which in March established the Executive Committee, which functions as a local government responsible for running the various government ministries in Gaza.

The punitive measures were intended to pressure Hamas to agree to transfer control of the Gaza institutions to the control of the PA government.

Hamas and Fatah, headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza in a bloody coup.

A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in 2015 when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

Since the unity government was dissolved, Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks in Doha, Qatar – but with no success.

Fatah recently finally acknowledged that it has no control over Gaza and is now trying to force it to return control of the enclave by creating economic pressure on the group.

Most recently, the PA decided to force more than 6,000 employees in Gaza into early retirement, in its latest attempt to squeeze the Hamas-controlled territory. It later halted salary payments to more than 30 lawmakers affiliated with Hamas.