Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ramallah-based government on Monday demanded that Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, disband its government there and transfer control of the enclave back to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah.

Tariq Ramshawi, a government spokesman, said that Hamas must dismantle the Gaza Executive Committee and transfer the power over all the government institutions in Gaza to a national consensus government, so that it could fulfill its obligations towards Gazans.

Ramshawi stressed that Hamas's policy reinforces the rift among Palestinian Arabs and intensifies the suffering of the residents of Gaza, due to the imposition of illegal taxes, the "theft" of shipments of drugs sent by the PA to Gaza, the imposition of illegal fees on medical treatment, the cancellation of many important projects, including the construction of a water desalination plant, and the prevention of elections for local authorities.

At the same time, the Fatah Central Committee, headed by Abbas, also demanded that Hamas dismantle the shadow government it established in Gaza and allow the PA government to fulfill its mandate.

Fatah has upped its rhetoric against Hamas in recent weeks, after finally acknowledging that it has no control over Gaza, which Hamas overtook in a bloody coup in 2007.

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.