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Hamas, Fatah accuse each other of being unwilling to resolve political crisis

May 30, 2017 3:14 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2017 4:36 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Hamas and Fatah continued on Monday to exchange accusations over the ongoing political crisis opposing the two Palestinian political parties.

Hamas politburo member Salah al-Bardawil accused Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, of demanding numerous changes to a reconciliation agreement with Hamas brokered by Qatar, and of choosing not to achieve reconciliation as long as he remains in office.

Al-Bardawil claimed that Abbas was stalling the reconciliation process in order to achieve a “political project” with US President Donald Trump, without further elaborating on what he meant by such a project.

The Hamas official's comments also came after Trump called out the Hamas movement -- Gaza’s de facto leading party -- in a list of terrorist organizations during a speech in Riyadh earlier this month, prompting outcry from Palestinians across the political spectrum, who interpreted the remarks as a blanket condemnation of all forms of Palestinian resistance.

Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh called al-Bardawil’s claims “void,” and in turn said that Hamas was the one refusing national unity.

Al-Qawasmeh argued that Abbas and Fatah had sent a clear message to Hamas in accordance with all existing agreements, asking the resistance movement to dissolve the committee formed in the besieged enclave tasked with administering the Gaza Strip, and to agree on holding legislative and presidential elections within six months -- demands that al-Qawasmeh said Hamas had refused.

Al-Qawasmeh went on to accuse Hamas of blaming others for its refusal to accept a reconciliation agreement, and attributed the political, humanitarian, social, and cultural crises affecting the Palestinian cause in the past decade to Hamas failing to “learn its lessons.”

The Fatah official also claimed that Hamas’ “commitment” to national divisions was in fact helping Israel “eliminate” the Palestinian cause, and concluded by stating that the PA was committed to achieving a two-state solution with a Palestinian state comprising of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Numerous attempts have been made in the past to reconcile Hamas and Fatah since they came into violent conflict in 2007, shortly after Hamas’ 2006 victory in general elections held in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliations, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

Tensions have escalated in recent months over an ongoing electricity crisis in Gaza recently made worse by the announcement that the PA had requested that Israel reduce its supply of power; accusations of politically motivated arrests in both the West Bank and Gaza; PA-imposed cuts to the salaries of civil servants in Gaza; and the occurrence of local elections only in the West Bank, despite being boycotted by Hamas and other parties.
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