The Palestinian Authority and Hamas agreed to a unity government this year
But Mahmoud Abbas says Hamas has been operating a shadow government
A Hamas spokesman says Abbas' comments are baseless
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed Hamas over the weekend, raising questions about the future of the Palestinian rivals’ unity government.
The Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank, and the militant group Hamas has controlled Gaza. The longtime rivals agreed to a unity government earlier this year, but Abbas accused Hamas of operating a shadow government in Gaza.
“We cannot accept the current state of affairs, and we will not accept a partnership between us and them (Hamas) if their state of affairs remains as it is in Gaza,” Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
“There is a shadow government that consists of 27 deputy ministers who run the strip, and the unity government is actually rendered helpless.”
Senior Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri fired back at Abbas’ comments.
“Abbas’ statements regarding Hamas and the resistance are unjustifiable, and the figures and information upon which he based his judgment are baseless,” Abu Zuhri said on his Facebook page.
He said the two sides had agreed to hold a meeting soon to continue “go on with the dialogue and to implement the articles of the reconciliation agreement.”
The rift stands in stark contrast to Abbas’ statements in April on Palestinian reconciliation.
Abbas, the founder of the Fatah political faction, said he was determined to end the division between Fatah and Hamas. He also said the new unity government will recognize Israel, but not as a Jewish state.