Amid reports that tensions between Hamas and Fatah could hinder the reconstruction of Gaza, Hamas officials say they are confident that the Palestinian public won’t hold them responsible.
What happens next in Gaza “is the responsibility of [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas because now he is responsible for the government,” Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told the New York Times in an article published Wednesday. “We are not responsible.”
Cairo-based senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the organization has already distributed $40 million in Gaza, $2,000 to each family whose home was damaged.
On Wednesday, reports in the Arab media indicated that Egypt was meeting with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides and was preparing to issue invitations to ceasefire negotiations in Cairo, but tensions between Hamas and Fatah over the payment of salaries to Hamas employees and administration of border crossings were delaying the talks.
These reports came a day after Fatah officials reportedly warned that if Hamas did not cede control of the Gaza Strip to the unity government, Abbas’s presidential guard forces would not deploy along the borders and the crossings would remain closed. Egypt has said repeatedly it would not open the Rafah border crossing as long as it was controlled by Hamas.
However, riding an unprecedented wave of popularity following its most recent violent conflict with Israel, Hamas’s leaders have sounded confident that it can maintain support from the people, and since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect last week, Hamas’s leaders have been working the streets to buoy that support.