PA leader issues warning to Hamas

PA leader Rami Hamdallah urges Hamas to agree to hold local elections in Gaza or they will be excluded.

Dalit Halevi ,

Rami Hamdallah
Rami Hamdallah

Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Rami Hamdallah on Sunday sent a threatening message to Hamas, stating that if the movement does not agree to hold the local elections on the date determined, there will be no choice but to postpone the election in Gaza and hold them only in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.

Hamdallah gave Hamas an additional week to provide its final answer regarding the local elections, adding that the PA government in Ramallah will formulate its position based on this answer.

He stressed that Gaza is an integral part of the “Palestinian homeland” and there will not be a state without Gaza, which he said is a top priority for the PA.

The PA local elections were supposed to be held in October of 2016, but the PA’s high court later ordered their suspension due to ongoing tensions between Fatah and Hamas.

Last month the elections were rescheduled for May 13, 2017, but Hamas is threatening to boycott them due to its dispute with Fatah.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup.

A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed last June when Fatah leader and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

The PA’s interest is to hold elections in area of Gaza that are controlled by Hamas in practice, in order to demonstrate its control over all the Palestinian territories as part of its demand for recognition of a Palestinian state.