Hamas to Abbas: Stop Conducting Dialogue Through Media

A Hamas spokesman on Sunday said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas should stop conducting dialogue through the media, a day after Abbas accused the group of running a “shadow government” in Gaza.

Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters that “president Abbas’ remarks against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified and the sources of information and figures he relied on were incorrect and have nothing to do with the truth.”

The remarks, he added, reflect injustice toward “our people and the resistance who made this great victory.”

Abu Zuhri added that Hamas and Fatah agreed to have a meeting soon for further talks and to discuss implementation of the terms of the reconciliation agreement both movements have signed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday accused Hamas of running a “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip and said that the unity government between Hamas and the PLO must assert its authority in the besieged coastal enclave.

Speaking to a group of Egyptian journalists and scholars in Cairo on the first day of a three-day visit, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority “would not accept the situation in Gaza to continue as it is now and in this shape.”

“There are 27 undersecretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said, referring to the officials of the former Hamas government who continue to maintain power in Gaza despite an April agreement that led to a government of national reconciliation between PLO and Hamas.

Abbas also spoke about the war in Gaza, claiming that only 50 of the fighters killed during the war were affiliated to Hamas, while 861 were affiliated to Fatah.

Presidential Guards ‘Prepared’ to Take over Rafah

The statements came after a presidential guards commander told Ma’an that Palestinian Authority forces were preparing to begin staffing the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, currently maintained by Hamas.

A senior commander who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ma’an Saturday that PA presidential guards had already prepared a list of officers to take charge of security arrangements at the terminal and at the Philadelphi Corridor along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The officers, added the commander, are awaiting orders from Palestinian political leadership and as soon as “orders are given, groups will be sent and reoriented.”

A thousand officers will be sent in the first stage and the number will be increased as needed, he added.

The presidential guard commander said that all officers to be deployed at the Rafah crossing and along the border in the first stage would be from the Gaza Strip.

The officers would need two months of training and Egypt had said it was prepared to train them, he added.

No officers have been sent to Egypt for training so far because the political leadership has not given orders, according to the official.

The April unity deal between the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas ended seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties.

The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements — one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha — which have as of yet been unimplemented.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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