Abbas dissolves unity government with Hamas

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has tasked Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah with establishing a new government amid growing tensions with Hamas.  

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Palestinian unity government members. (Issam RImawi/FLASH90)

Palestinian unity government members.(Issam RImawi/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority head (PA) Mahmoud Abbas announced the dissolving of the national unity government he had formed with Hamas last year. He has appointed Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to handle negotiations with all Palestinian factions, including Hamas.

IDF Radio reported that the point of contention was a request by Hamas to change the ministers’ configuration and to add ministers from Hamas.

According to this report, Abbas threatened to establish a new government without Hamas.

Sources close to Abbas told IDF Radio that Abbas is making this move in response to reports that Hamas is seeking a long-term ceasefire with Israel and that he wishes to be a part of such an agreement through Hamas ministers serving in his government.

Abbas has made similar threats in the past.

A Unity Government of Discord

The Hamas-Fatah unity government was formed a year ago in June after years of feuding between the rival Palestinian factions.

Tensions between Hamas and Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, have been running high ever since the establishment of the government.

PA police

PA police in action. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The government did not function well, and the sides have argued over how to carry out reconstruction of the war-battered Gaza Strip, among other issues. Both sides have made mutual accusations of corruption, graft and treason.

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Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said in September that Hamas had received vast sums of money donated by Muslims from around the world during Operation Protective Edge but did not use the funds for the benefit of the civilians.

Hamas alleged in May that the PA has been withholding funds from the Gaza Strip, stating that “the ongoing misery of Gazans is by all means a source that provides the PA with international funds and donations.”

Hamas and the PA appear to be on the brink of civil war, having arrested each other’s operatives and as well as planting bombs in an attempt to kill officials and leaders.

AP contributed to this report.