Fatah Accuses Hamas of Operating Shadow Government in Gaza Amid Reconciliation Deadlock

Saleh al-Arouri
AP/Nariman El-Mofty

TEL AVIV — Reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah concluded Thursday in Cairo without achieving any breakthrough on granting the Palestinian Authority full control of the Gaza Strip.

Azzam al-Ahmad, Fatah’s pointman in charge of reconciliation, said that Hamas’ government continues to operate in the Gaza Strip parallel to that of the Palestinian Authority. According to al-Ahmed, the sanctions placed on the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority won’t be lifted as long as Hamas continues to operate a separate government.

“The resident of Gaza won’t feel any difference until the PA government gets full authority in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “A parallel government continues to operate in Gaza and continues to make decisions and give orders. The legitimate government won’t be able to accept that.”

According to al-Ahmad, that is the reason there won’t be any change in the situation in Gaza. “We don’t want the minister in the PA government to arrive at his office and all he’ll be able to do is drink coffee,” he said. “We want him to be able to do his job. Hamas announced the dismantling of its government but that can’t just stay on paper, it needs to really happen. Hamas continues to collect taxes that don’t go to PA finances.”

Fatah official and member of the organization’s revolutionary council Ahmad Guneim confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that, in reality, Hamas continues to control government ministries in the Gaza Strip.

“A minister shows up, gives orders to the secretary or an official in the Ministry and they answer that they need to check the issue with their people, who happen to be Hamas officials,” said Guneim. “He needs to decide if he’s an employee of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian government or if he’ll continue to be an employee of Hamas. This needs to be solved.”

In response to the dead end reached in the talks, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee Ahmad Majdalani said an Egyptian delegation is set to arrive in the Gaza Strip to try and remove the barriers standing in the way of completing the Palestinian reconciliation deal.

According to Majdalani, “The Egyptian delegation will come in order to test the issue of transferring authority to the PA government and to establish which side is delaying it.”

Majdalani connected the transfer of authority to the PA government in Gaza to other issues, including general elections, the restructuring of PLO institutions in order to integrate and Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and other issues besides.