Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hamas Threatens to Drag Gaza into Confrontation as a Response to Abbas’ Stringent Measures | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian man walks during power cut at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City April 25, 2017. Picture taken April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem –

Ramallah – Hamas hinted at a new war with Israel if Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s actions against the Gaza Strip continue, demanding indirectly from Israel not to respond to Abbas’s positions.

Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Israeli occupation would pay the price of encouraging President Mahmoud Abbas to economically strangle the Gaza Strip.

“Occupation forces needs to reassess its accounts before it is too late, and the Hamas movement is more than able to turn tables for everyone,” he added.

Zuhri’s statement confirms Hamas’ intention spark a war with Israel should Tel Aviv adheres to Abbas’s calls against Gaza, specifically cutting off the power supply to Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Senior Hamas figures, including political bureau member Khalil al-Hayya, had warned that Gaza Strip was a time bomb that would detonate if Abbas continued to pressure it.

Abbas launched a series of measures last month which systematically targeted Hamas in Gaza, in an attempt to force the Islamist movement to hand over the territory.

At first, he enforced a 30 percent pay cut for public office employees in the Strip and ordered the suspension of tax exemptions on purchases such as fuel. He subsequently informed Israel of his decision to stop paying for the electricity supplied by Israel to Gaza which fulfilled about one third of the sector’s needs.

Israel monthly collects tax revenues from the Abbas’ administration in exchange for supplying Gaza with electricity, but Palestinian authorities accuse the Hamas of cashing in on power bills without transferring any of the collected funds to the Palestinian government in Ramallah.

Hamas hopes that Israel will not respond to Abbas’s request and continue to supply electricity to Gaza, either by forcibly acquiring funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA), accumulating them, or mobilizing international support.

Israeli official said on April 27, the Palestinian Authority informed Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories that it was immediately cutting off funding for Gaza’s power supply.

Not only will it no longer buy diesel fuel to operate the Gaza Strip’s one and only power station — the PA stopped doing so several weeks ago — it will stop footing the monthly bill for the power supplied by the Israel Electric Corporation to Gaza.