Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, has rejected a move by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity government it agreed to last year, Agence France-Presse reported today.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah presented Wednesday the resignation of the unity government to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who charged him with forming a new government, said Nimr Hammad, a close aide to Abbas.
“Hamdallah handed his resignation to Abbas and Abbas ordered him to form a new government,” Hammad told AFP. Discussions to form a new government would include consultations with the various Palestinian factions, including Hamas, he said. …
“Hamas rejects any one-sided change in the government without the agreement of all parties,” [Hamas spokesman Sami Abu] Zuhri told AFP Wednesday.
The New York Times quoted an activist with ties to the Palestinian Authority, Diana Buttu, criticizing Abbas and saying, “The biggest failure of the legacy of his 10 years is that this split has been allowed to fester for such a long, long, long period of time.” Abbas was elected to a four year term as president in 2005. The Palestinian Authority has not held elections since.
Last year’s unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah, which is the dominant party in the Palestinian Authority, was supposed to heal the rift between the two factions. However, repeated refusals to compromise have resulted in a deadlock, with the parties even unable to agree on a plan to rebuild Gaza. One PA official asked in January, “How do you expect me to go work in the Gaza Strip, when the Qassam Brigades [Hamas’s elite paramilitary group] goes ahead of me in both power and weapons?”
In addition to failing in its stated goal of reconciling the two factions or serving the residents of Gaza or the West Bank, the agreement with Hamas opens the PA to war crimes charges due to Hamas’ attacks against Israeli civilians last year during Operation Protective Edge.
Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni identified the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement as one of the actions taken by the PA that torpedoed last year’s American-backed peace talks.
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