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Abbas Promises Decisive Steps to End Hamas-Fatah Rift | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, Jordan, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)

Ramallah- Palestine leader Mahmoud Abbas criticized the new Hamas declaration in Gaza, saying that not only it represents a challenge but has also forced the Palestinian Authority to take measures to counter its effect.

A Gaza Strip official said that Hamas openly welcomes the incoming Fatah delegation along with the roadmap it holds for settling differences. The official added that it is no time for making threats and extortion.

“Gaza now is in a very serious and difficult situation that needs decisive steps, and we are going to take these decisive steps, because after 10 years we have been holding … for 10 years (Hamas reigned over Gaza)—we did so in support to all our people–and then we are surprised by this unprecedented step (the formation of an administration for Gaza), so we will take needed steps to address the growing division in the next few days,” Abbas said when speaking to a Palestinian Authority meeting in Bahrain.

Abbas’ statement confirms details previously published by Asharq Al-Awsat on possible measures, including cutting salaries, revoking tax exemptions, and restricting trade. Further harsh and stringent political measures are also expected.

Fatah central committee member Jamal Moheisen said on Wednesday in a speech at a mass rally that the Fatah delegation would be the last chance for Hamas to fix its stances with the legitimate authority.

For its part, Hamas said that the independent Gaza Strip administrative committee should be abolished as soon as the inclusive government of national unity comes to effect.

After a lengthy meeting of Palestinian factions in Gaza, including the Fatah movement, Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil welcomed the national unity government to work in Gaza, according to a cosigned agreement.

“The administrative committee formed in Gaza is temporary and is meant to coordinate among ministries, in the absence of government and not as an alternative. In the event that the government of national unity starts its work in Gaza, the committee will be shut down,” Bardwil said.

Hamas’ position came after Abbas decided to offer an initiative to end the division between the two rivals.

The Palestinian Unity Government of June 2014 lasted till June 17, 2015 under Abbas. It was formed after an agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process has been slow since the movement’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.