GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Rivals Hamas and Fatah have traded some of the harshest accusations in months, raising fresh doubt about their ability to work together to rebuild areas of the Gaza Strip destroyed in last year’s Israel-Hamas war.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, claimed over the weekend that the Fatah-run government in the West Bank ordered supporters to carry out several bombings in Gaza to create chaos. Hamas released videos purportedly showing confessions of three men involved in the alleged plot.
Gaza Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad Bozum also claimed that Fatah ordered supporters in Gaza to relay information about Hamas’ military infrastructure.
Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for Fatah-loyal forces in the West Bank, on Sunday dismissed the purported confession videos as forgeries. He said Hamas is making such claims to distract from its failure in governing Gaza.
Last week, Palestinian security forces arrested several dozen Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The sweep came several days after Hamas detained several Fatah activists in Gaza.
The rival factions are meant to be setting aside their differences for the sake of rebuilding Gaza. The current plan calls for a Hamas-backed technocrat government headed by Fatah’s leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
This unity government was to replace the rule of Hamas, which had seized Gaza in 2007, but the two sides have failed to make the agreement work. The political paralysis is seen as a major reason for the slow reconstruction pace.
A border blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, in place to varying degrees since 2007, has also hampered reconstruction. Israel has restricted the import of building material, amid concerns Hamas would divert it for military use.
Since Operation Protective Edge, Israel has eased those restrictions under a UN-brokered deal. The office of the Israeli military dealing with Gaza affairs said Sunday that more than 91,000 tons of construction materials have entered the territory since October.
But Gisha, an Israeli advocacy group, said Gaza needs about 5 million tons of building materials to rebuild the approximately 18,000 Gaza homes the UN estimates were destroyed or severely damaged in the 50 days of fighting.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.