PA prime minister to visit Gaza on Tuesday
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PA prime minister to visit Gaza on Tuesday

Rami Hamdallah set to attend inauguration of a wastewater treatment plant, unclear if he will meet Hamas officials

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrives at a cabinet meeting in Gaza City on October 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mohammed Abed)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah arrives at a cabinet meeting in Gaza City on October 3, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mohammed Abed)

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to participate in the inauguration of a wastewater treatment plant.

The plant will provide long-term wastewater management for more than 400,000 Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip.

PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj will accompany Hamdallah on his visit.

It will be Hamdallah’s second visit to the Gaza Strip since the signing of an Egyptian-brokered “reconciliation” agreement between the West Bank’s governing Fatah faction and Gaza’s Hamas rulers late last year.

The two Palestinian officials will enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing, PA government spokesperson Yusef al Mahmoud said.

The visit comes amid mounting tensions between the PA and the Hamas terror group over the floundering  agreement.

Hamdallah and Faraj are expected to meet with Egyptian security officials who are currently in the Gaza Strip as part of Cairo’s effort to persuade Hamas and PA to implement the pact.

The PA government has accused Hamas of refusing to allow it to assume its full responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the agreement.

Hamas, for its part, has accused the PA government of failing to lift the sanctions it imposed on the Gaza Strip last year.

The sanctions include, among other things, halting payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected the PA’s request that it relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip.

It remained unclear Monday night whether the two top PA officials would also meet with Hamas leaders during their visit to Gaza. It was unclear how long they would stay there.

At the PA government’s weekly meeting in Ramallah on Monday, the PA prime minister said that “empowering” his government in the Gaza Strip would pave the way for the success of the Egyptian-brokered accord.

He said that the empowerment of the PA government means that Hamas would allow all PA civil servants to return to the jobs they held before the terror group seized full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

In addition, Hamas must allow the PA government to assume its security responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and collect taxes and other fees, Hamdallah added.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the PA government condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech last week at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington. It said the speech was full of “lies” and “incitement,” and accused the US administration of encouraging Netanyahu and the Israeli government to “pursue more crimes” against the Palestinians.

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