Hamas urges Abbas to lift Gaza ‘sanctions’
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Hamas urges Abbas to lift Gaza ‘sanctions’

Terror group fears PA president may further slash funds slated for coastal enclave to pressure it to relinquish control

Palestinians follow PA President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the annual UN General Assembly, on a large screen in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Palestinians follow PA President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the annual UN General Assembly, on a large screen in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Gaza’s Hamas rulers are calling on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to lift what they describe as his “sanctions” on the coastal territory.

Friday’s call followed Abbas’s threats to “give up responsibility” for Gaza if the Hamas terror group doesn’t respond positively to Egyptian efforts to broker a reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions.

Abbas slashed funding to Gaza and cut salaries of Palestinian Authority employees there to pressure Hamas into handing over the territory, making it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern.

Hamas fears Abbas may reduce funding to health care and other services for Gazans.

Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly Thursday contained an explicit threat to “give up all responsibility” over Gaza if Hamas does not agree to reach a deal with the Palestinian Authority. This was seen as a threat to stop transferring PA funds to Gaza in the near future.

Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in anti-Abbas protests late Thursday in the territory, burning posters of him after his speech.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of Gaza after ousting pro-Abbas forces in 2007; the violent takeover led to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the enclave ever since, designed to prevent Hamas importing weaponry.

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