(JNS.org) Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said he will take “unprecedented steps” to end the split between the PA-run territories in the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
In a speech to Arab ambassadors in Bahrain, Abbas said he was shocked at Hamas’s decision in March to form an administrative committee to run affairs in Gaza.
“After 10 years in which we sent financial support to our people in Gaza, we were surprised by this unprecedented step,” Abbas said. “Thus, we will take unprecedented steps regarding the split.”
While Abbas did not offer additional details, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum dismissed the PA leader’s comments, saying the terror group would not accept “the language of threats and dictating orders.”
Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PA in 2007. Numerous failed attempts have been made over the years to unify the Palestinian movement and end the split between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah political party, which dominates the PA.
Despite Hamas’s control over the territory, Gaza in many ways remains economically dependent on the PA. Some 60,000 former PA employees in Gaza still receive salaries as a way to affirm their loyalty to Abbas. Earlier this week, the PA said it has spent $17 billion in Gaza since 2007.