Are the Palestinians again heading towards civil war? Tension between Hamas and Fatah have reached a new peak.
The Gaza-based Hamas terror group and the Palestinian Authority (PA), headquartered in Ramallah, appear to be on a collision course, as infrastructural crises continue to plague the Gaza Strip and a power struggle between the rivals continues.
Hamas official Ahmad Yousif warned on Saturday that the situation in Gaza could “implode at any moment,” lashing out at the PA for its role in the deteriorating situation.
In an interview with the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, Yousif accused the Fatah-led PA government of putting into action a “big plan” aiming to “eliminate the Palestinian cause.”
Earlier this month, the PA slashed the salaries of PA employees in Gaza and cut aid disbursement to Gaza.
The move sparked protests. On Monday, the female branch of Hamas rallied in protest. The women demonstrated at the local electricity company, expressing anger and frustration over the renewed electricity crisis.
Itimad El-Tarshawi, an official in Hamas, said during the protest rally that Gaza “continues to pay the price over its firm stance regarding the Palestinian national rights, and nothing will succeed in debilitating the Palestinian will.”
She lauded the “unique steadfastness of the Palestinian woman who remained highly committed to the liberation’s mission, never daunted by the siege and successive aggression.”
Hamas and Fatah have made several unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation, with both sides frequently blaming each other for numerous political failures.
Yousif rejected a recent statement by the Fatah party accusing Hamas of not responding to a proposal by PA head Mahmoud Abbas towards political reconciliation, after some 10 years of animosity. He claimed that Hamas was still willing to work towards rapprochement with Fatah.
Most recently, Gaza electricity officials have blamed power shortages on PA fuel taxes, while the PA notified authorities on Thursday that it would stop paying for electricity provided by Israel to the Gaza Strip.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov released a statement earlier this month in which he expressed “deep concerns” over the “growing tensions” in Gaza.
Israel is closely monitoring these developments, as it fears that violence between the Palestinian rivals could eventually expand to harm Israel, as has been the case in the past.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News