Hamas Official Slams Abbas, Casts Doubt on Palestinian Unity

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, who led reconciliation talks with Fatah, says Palestinian Authority neglecting the issue of Palestinian national unity.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, who led the reconciliation talks with Fatah, expressed doubt in recent days about the ability to implement the Palestinian unity agreement.

Marzouk criticized the Palestinian Authority and its head for neglecting the issue of Palestinian national unity and said that Hamas may reassume power in the Gaza Strip in the interest of the security of its residents.

Abu Marzouk posted on his Facebook page that Gaza is entering a governmental vacuum. "I'm afraid that Hamas will be forced to reassume control of Gaza since the Strip cannot exist in a vacuum. It is currently not under the jurisdiction of the previous government nor the national unity government," he wrote. Abu Marzouk also criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for not having visited the Strip yet.

"He has gone everywhere. Why not Gaza?" He also noted that the "Palestinian Authority in Ramallah was a party to the siege on Gaza, and now that we reached an agreement, why does the siege continue? Who is responsible for opening the Rafah crossing and for providing electricity and ending the siege?"

According to Marzouk, "the new government and Abbas' office recognize Palestinian Authority sovereignty in the West Bank, not in Gaza. Palestinian unity and the question of Palestinian nationalism has become cheap in their eyes. Does this constitute a breach of the unity deal?"

Senior Hamas officials told Haaretz that since the signing of the reconciliation deal, there has not been any genuine progress in the implementation of the outlines signed in Cairo and Doha. "Except for the declaration of a new government, in practice nothing has changed. Tens of thousands of clerks in Gaza have gone without salaries for three months and are suffering from electricity shortages and problems at the Rafah Border Crossing. The only change is that Ismail Haniyeh is no longer serving as prime minister, but that's it."

Since the kidnapping 18 days ago, the Palestinian Authority has been talking about difficulties in implementing the reconciliation, although senior Palestinian officials told Haaretz that notwithstanding the kidnapping, Hamas and Fatah are facing many obstacles, primarily arranging their financial matters, control of the Rafah Border Crossing and stabilizing security in the Strip.

Officials close to Abbas said he does not plan on dismantling the deal but rather is focused on elections in the West Bank and Gaza. "Without elections, one cannot talk about legitimate leadership that can make critical decisions," they said. However, Abbas told Haaretz that the pressure being exerted by Israel on Gaza and the West Bank sheds doubt on his ability to call elections by the end of the year.

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