Palestinian Authority's Intelligence Chief Travels to Gaza Amid Crisis With Hamas

Majid Faraj's meetings with Hamas officials concern PA demands for security control of the Gaza Strip, including border crossings

Palestinian men stand by the closed gate of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, in the Gaza Strip on November 17, 2017.
SAID KHATIB/AFP

The head of the Palestinian Authority's intelligence service Majid Faraj arrived in Gaza on Friday for meetings with senior Hamas leaders to discuss political and security issues. The talks come at a time of crisis in relations between the PA and Hamas over Gaza's security.

The Palestinian Authority is demanding routine security responsibility for the Gaza Strip in order to ensure proper operation of the enclave's border crossings. Sources in the PA say that until these security issues are agreed upon, the government will not be able to properly govern in Gaza, including opening the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt.

Hamas accused the PA of evading and using the security issue in order to delay the crossing's opening, noting that the PA had not yet lifted the sanctions imposed on the Strip in recent months. 

A senior Palestinian official close to Faraj told Haaretz that the meetings he will hold in the coming days are in preparation for the meeting next week in Cairo, which will include all of the Palestinian factions. The meeting is intended to foster progress in reconciliation by formulating agreements for the creation of a new Palestinian government, convening the Palestinian National Council and holding elections.  

Senior Hamas official Yahya Sinwar has called on the Palestinians to go out and protest on November 21 – the day the Palestinian factions are set to meet – to push them to reach agreements and to progress with reconciliation, and stressed that Hamas will do everything to promote these interests.