Mahmoud Abba
Mahmoud Abba Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday pledged to keep cutting support payments for Hamas-ruled Gaza despite U.S. criticism of such tactics, reports The Associated Press.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction 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.

In recent months, Fatah has 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 notably by cutting electricity supplies to Gaza through Israel.

In addition, the PA also recently decided to force more than 6,000 employees in Gaza into early retirement. It later halted salary payments to more than 30 lawmakers affiliated with Hamas.

Abbas told a gathering at his headquarters in Ramallah Saturday that “we will continue the cuts in Gaza, gradually, unless Hamas accepts the requirements of the reconciliation.”

The PA chairman added that U.S. officials told him he shouldn’t cut electricity. He argued that those opposed to pressuring Hamas “don’t want to see an independent state”, according to AP.