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Erdogan to Discuss with Abbas Efforts to End Palestinian Authority-Hamas Division | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, Turkey in 2015. (AFP)

Ramallah – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will underline during upcoming talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the need for Hamas to dissolve its administrative committee in the Gaza Strip. This should be followed by general elections. Only then will the Palestinian Authority (PA) reverse the measures that it has taken against the Hamas-controlled coastal strip, an informed Palestinian source revealed.

Abbas and Erdogan are scheduled to meet next week.

The source made its statements after Hamas’ branch in the West Bank exerted pressure on its Gaza branch to hold reconciliation with Abbas.

Erdogan had offered a mediation to end the divide between Abbas and Hamas and the dispute over Gaza.

“Turkish officials informed the PA that they will provide guarantees for the formation of a consensus government in Gaza and that they will follow up on the issue. However, they want to discuss how to meet Hamas’ demand that its employees will remain in positions they currently occupy,” added the source.

Hamas is leaning towards complying with the Turkish mediation, asking that the guarantees not affect its employees. The source noted however that this issue will be difficult to resolve because the Palestinian government will face challenges in taking in all the Hamas employees at one go.

“The PA cannot act as Hamas’ ATM. The current proposal was made by Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdullah,” said the source.

The premier suggested that Hamas allow PA employees to return to their old jobs and that they be given priority in filling vacancies. The proposal was rejected by Hamas.

Abbas will meanwhile listen to and discuss Turkish proposals to end the Palestinian divide. The president is however insistent on the roadmap that he had placed to end the dispute, revealed informed sources.

“The president set a roadmap that starts with dissolving the administrative committee and allowing the formation of a national unity government that includes Hamas. This will be followed by general elections. Without this, there can be no solution,” explained the sources.

“Whoever wins the elections will run the country,” they added, warning that Abbas will continue with his measures against Gaza until his roadmap is accepted.

Abbas had taken a series of measures against Gaza, such as cutting salaries and forcing employees to retirement, in an effort to pressure Hamas to end its takeover of Gaza and restore it to the PA.

The measures were announced after Hamas announced the formation of a government committee aimed at managing the ministries in the Gaza Strip. The step was seen by the PA as a coup against the consensus government.

A Hamas source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement will await the results of the Abbas-Erdogan talks before taking any stance.