Palestinian official: PA controls only 5% of the Gaza Strip

As the December 1st deadline approaches, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority remain at loggerheads over security control of the Gaza Strip.

By: World Israel News Staff

Despite the recent agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, with the self-imposed December 1st deadline approaching, the PA claims it has security control of only 5% of the Gaza Strip, Times of Israel reported.

The reconciliation deal signed last month between the PA and Hamas includes a full handover of security affairs in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority by the first of December. But with the deadline fast approaching, PA officials in Ramallah say that they have received control over very selective areas of the territory, according to the Times report.

After 10 years in control of Gaza security, the Times said, the terrorist group Hamas has apparently been dragging its feet in implementing the accord. PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh told Palestinian TV, “The [PA] government until this moment, financially, administratively and security-wise, has not been set up [in Gaza] more than five percent.” Al-Sheikh said that the holdup is because Hamas has thus far refused to allow PA officials to take control of their old offices, which would enable thousands of employees to return to jobs held before the Hamas takeover in 2007.

Sheikh added that the PA has been unable to set up an effective tax collection system at the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel, mainly because they have not been allowed to set up a proper security infrastructure.

The biggest hurdle is yet to come, as the 25,000-strong Hamas military wing is still firmly in place in Gaza, the Times continued. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is insisting that the agreement includes Hamas giving up its entire arsenal, but the Islamic terror  group  is thus far refusing to do so. Al-Sheikh made it clear that this issue is a deal breaker, saying, “Weapons are not a factional or an organizational issue. We will not allow anything but one gun and one law.”

Hamas insists that disarmament is not part of the agreement. Senior Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zurhi said, “Disarming the resistance from its weapons is a mere pipe dream,” the Times report said. According to Hamas, it has already lived up to its part of the agreement by handing over the ministries, authorities and border crossings to the PA.