Abbas Vows to Continue Restricting Funds to Gaza as Long as Hamas Remains in Power

If Gaza isn't part of the Palestinian state, Palestinian president says, it's 'a shame to invest in it'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not shown) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 19, 2017.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he will continue restricting funds to the Gaza Strip as long as Hamas continues to rule the enclave.

Speaking at an event in Ramallah to recognize the struggle of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Abbas said the funds were contingent on Hamas accepting a reconciliation initiative. 

"We can't establish a Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip," he said. Nevertheless, he said that if Gaza isn't integrated in the new state, "it's a shame to invest money in it."

Abbas also addressed East Jerusalem, saying that "it's the capital of the Palestinian state, and will remain as such forever."

"What happened in '48 won't repeat itself," he said. 

In April, the Palestinian Authority stopped paying for the electricity Israel provided to Gaza, thus worsening the power crisis in the enclave. The measure was described as punishment of the Hamas government in Gaza for turning down Abbas’ initiatives to restore PA control in the Strip.