Hamas on Tuesday called on the Palestinian Authority government to either lift its sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip or resign.
The terrorist organization also accused the PA government of continuing with its “policy of misinformation, instigating tensions, and deliberate neglect” toward the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.
The PA government is ignoring the needs of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum charged.
Barhoum further accused the PA government of seeking to “solidify and justify” the penalties it imposed last year on the Gaza Strip.
“The policy of the government has led to tragic and difficult conditions that have affected all walks of life, specifically with regards to the disastrous health situation,” the Hamas official said.
“The government must stop tampering with the feelings of our people in the Gaza Strip.”
Last year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to take “painful and unprecedented” measures against Hamas to force the terror group to dismantle its de facto government in the Gaza Strip, known as the Administrative Committee.
Abbas’s threat was followed by a series of sanctions that included drastic cuts in the salaries of PA employees in the Gaza Strip, the suspension of social assistance to hundreds of families, and the forced retirement of thousands of civil servants.
In addition, the PA stopped paying Israel for electricity and fuel supplies to the coastal enclave.
Hamas had hoped Abbas would lift the sanctions after the signing of the Hamas-Fatah “reconciliation” agreement in Cairo in November 2017, which has since faltered.
Hamas maintains that although it has complied with the terms of the agreement by dismantling its Administrative Committee and allowing the PA government to resume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, Abbas has failed to ease the sanctions.
Earlier this year, Abbas, in a move that has further enraged Hamas, issued a “presidential decree” to reinstate the collection of taxes in the Gaza Strip. After Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the PA government decided that Palestinians living in the coastal enclave were exempt from paying taxes to the Hamas government.
The PA government, for its part, on Tuesday accused Hamas of obstructing the implementation of the reconciliation deal.
The government said in a statement after its weekly meeting in Ramallah that Hamas must stop “imposing conditions and ignoring the conditions of our people in the Gaza Strip.”
The PA government called on Hamas to facilitate its work in the Gaza Strip so that it would be able to assume its responsibilities in accordance with the agreement.
“Empowering the [PA] government means that the ministers would be permitted to assume their duties in the Gaza Strip, as they do in the West Bank, without any obstacles,” the statement said. The PA government will pursue its efforts to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it added.
The latest war of words between Hamas and the PA comes amid renewed attempts by the Egyptians to persuade the two parties to end their differences and comply with the accord.
A Hamas delegation headed by Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo last Friday to discuss the obstacles facing the agreement with Fatah and the mounting humanitarian and economic crisis in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas delegation is also discussing with Egyptian intelligence officials ways of enhancing security coordination to foil terror attacks against Egyptian troops and civilians in Sinai.