Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sharply criticized an emerging agreement between Israel and Hamas Saturday, saying that any aid to the Gaza Strip must go through the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
The terms of the emerging deal include efforts to improve Gaza's infrastructure, but according to Abbas, the Palestinian government is the only body authorized to provide funds to the impoverished coastal enclave.
Abbas also repeated his position that any reconciliation between his Fatah party and Hamas must include the provision that the Palestinian Authority governs Gaza, and that the PA will not agree to a Palestinian state that does not include the Strip.
Meanwhile, Egyptian sources told the Al-Hayat newspaper, which is published in London, that the announcement of a deal would come soon after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ends on the evening of August 25.
The various Palestinian factions, with the exception of Fatah, have been meeting in Cairo since Wednesday to discuss Palestinian reconciliation and a deal with Israel. According to the report, the Egyptians hope to involve Fatah in the talks after Eid al-Adha, as the Palestinians have made it clear that they will not work toward a deal with Israel without efforts to secure Palestinian reconciliation.
Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, tasked with overseeing reconciliation efforts, said the party will not accept any cease-fire deal with Israel without the participations in talks of a delegation approved by Abbas. The emerging deal was settled after efforts by the United Nations, via UN Mideast Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, and Qatar, said al-Ahmad.
Despite the expectation of an agreement between Israel and Hamas, Khalil al-Hayya, the deputy chief of Hamas' political wing, called on Gazans to participate in demonstrations near the fence at the border with Israel. Thousands arrived Friday to protest. The Health Ministry in Gaza said two protesters were killed by Israeli military fire and that 40 were wounded by live fire.