Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have missed a major deadline in their reconciliation bid by failing to transfer power in the Gaza Strip, with the rivals trading accusations of blame.
Yesterday was the deadline for the handover, a decade after Hamas seized power in the Palestinian enclave in a near civil war with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, based in the West Bank.
An Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October originally set a December 1 deadline for full transfer of power back to the PA, which is dominated by Fatah, though that was later pushed back to December 10.
In Gaza, the situation was essentially unchanged despite the deadline, with Hamas police still patrolling the streets, while crippling electricity shortages endured.
Hamas claimed on Saturday it had handed over control of all government ministries, but Fatah’s top negotiator later said “obstacles” remained.
As of this afternoon, the PA government spokesman Yousef Mahmud says it had not received full control in key ministries.
In a statement on official Palestinian news agency WAFA, he accused Hamas of seeking to stop the handover.
Fawzy Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, told AFP that Mahmud’s statement was an attempt to “cover up the government’s failure to carry out its duties to the people of Gaza.”