Islamic Jihad terrorists
Islamic Jihad terroristsReuters

Sa’id Nakhala, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, said on Sunday that a removal of all the punitive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority against the Gaza Strip is a precondition for reconciliation in the Palestinian Arab arena.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated website Al-Risala, Nakhala said that the starting of a new chapter in relations between the Fatah movement and the Islamic organizations requires the PA to change its policy towards the Gaza Strip.

He mentioned in this context the closure of the bank accounts of terrorist prisoners who had received a monthly allowance from the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the prison sentences they are serving, a cut in public sector workers' wages and a budget cut for the Gaza Strip.

Nakhala noted that it is precisely now that the Gaza Strip needs to be strengthened and that equal distribution of resources between Judea, Samaria and Gaza must be ensured.

The punitive measures on Gaza were imposed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas as part of the ongoing feud between his Fatah faction and Hamas. The two have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup.

The two groups signed a reconciliation agreement in October of 2017, as part of which Hamas was to transfer power in Gaza back to Fatah two months later. That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and then appeared to have been cancelled altogether after it reportedly hit “obstacles”.

Last week, however, the two rival groups held a rare joint press conference in which they pledged a united campaign against Israel's prospective plans to apply sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria.