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Hamas: Palestinian unity govt has expired

Nov. 30, 2014 12:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 2, 2014 10:08 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The national consensus government declared by Hamas and Fatah this summer has finished its interim term, the Hamas movement said Sunday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a news conference in Gaza City that the unity government's six-month term had expired, and that dialogue should be resumed on a national level to discuss the future of the government.

Any decision on whether the government should be disbanded or continued or be reshuffled must be made only through national dialogue and consensus, Abu Zuhri said.

Hamas "isn't interested in incitement, but rather seeks to maintain national unity," he said.

He stressed that the Hamas movement "does not control the Gaza Strip at all. ... If the national consensus government doesn't want to take responsibility for Gaza, this doesn't mean the government is exempted from this responsibility."

Abu Zuhri went on to criticize the Palestinian Authority for making what he called politically motivated arrests.

So far in November, 80 Palestinians have been detained in the West Bank for political affiliation, he said, adding that 70 of them were still in PA custody.

"Hamas denounces the escalating violations and criminal acts by the PA security services against supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance," he added.

He called on President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to stop the detention campaign.

A Gaza-West Bank government was agreed upon by Hamas and the Fatah-led PLO in April, and was sworn in in June, ending seven years of political discord.

But critics say the government has yet to make any real changes on the ground in Gaza.

Until the signing of the unity government, Hamas ran its own government in the Strip.

After it won legislative elections across Palestine in 2006 and violent clashes broke out between the movement and its rival Fatah party in 2007, Hamas declared sovereignty over Gaza. Israel then severely tightened its restrictions on the Strip, leading to frequent humanitarian crises and outbreaks of violence between Gaza militants and Israeli forces.
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