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Hamas, Fatah trade further accusations over situation in Gaza

April 23, 2017 8:33 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 9:53 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas movement spokesman Fawzi Barhum said on Sunday that its rival Fatah party did not answer issues raised by Hamas over a number of worsening crises in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Barhum said that Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, had asked Fatah, the leading party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), during a meeting on Tuesday to address recent salary cuts to PA civil servants in Gaza, as well as the need for fuel tax exemptions to maintain the distribution of electricity in the blockaded enclave.

Barhum urged the Fatah movement to "take seriously" Gaza’s crises and to “get the Palestinian house in order” -- referring in part to the nearly decade-long conflict between the two parties.

Meanwhile, the Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip issued a statement on Sunday condemning Hamas for its “inciteful media discourse, marches, and sit-ins” against PA President Mahmoud Abbas, claiming that such moves were an attempt by Hamas to avoid calls by Fatah to end the political divide.

Meanwhile, a number of Palestinians protested on Sunday in front of the gate of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) office in Gaza to demand a solution to the small Palestinian territory’s ongoing electricity crisis.

The popular committee of the al-Shati refugee camp and Gaza City, which organized the demonstration, expressed concern over the “disastrous” consequences of the nearly decade-long Israeli siege and the escalation of electricity woes, adding that Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip wanted nothing to do with internal Palestinian political strife, yet were the first affected by the situation.

The committee also demanded that the PA fulfill its responsibilities in Gaza and address the humanitarian crisis of refugees there.

Numerous attempts have been made in the past to reconcile Hamas and Fatah since they came into violent conflict in 2007, shortly after Hamas’ 2006 victory in general elections held in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliations, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov released a statement last week in which he expressed his “deep concerns” over the “growing tensions” in Gaza.
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