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Abbas planning to impose additional sanctions on Gaza

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas hopes that new sanctions will help him wrestle control of Gaza from rival Hamas and pressure Israel to resume the stalled peace process.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the PLO executive committee in Ramallah on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the PLO executive committee in Ramallah on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo by Flash90.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas plans ‎to impose additional sanctions on the Gaza Strip, ‎Palestinian officials were quoted by Arab media as ‎saying on Wednesday.‎

According to the reports, Abbas, who is currently in ‎New York to attend the 73rd U.N. General Assembly, plans to convene his government upon his ‎return to Ramallah and outline a series of new ‎financial sanctions against Hamas, the ‎terrorist organization that rules Gaza.‎

Hamas routed Abbas’s Fatah-led government from power ‎in Gaza in 2007, effectively splitting the ‎Palestinian population ‎into two separate political ‎entities. Egyptian efforts over the past ‎‎decade to ‎‎‎promote a ‎‎reconciliation between the rival ‎‎‎Palestinian ‎‎factions—the latest ‎‎brokered ‎‎in ‎October 2017—‎have so far failed.‎

The consistent failure to reinstate the P.A.’s power in Gaza has prompted Abbas to ‎impose a series of crippling financial sanctions on ‎its rulers, including suspending the salaries of ‎thousands of Hamas government employees and cutting ‎P.A. payments for the electricity used in Gaza, in an ‎effort to regain control of the Strip.

These moves have significantly aggravated the already dire economic ‎reality in Gaza. With unemployment exceeding ‎‎50 percent and no growth to speak of, the World Bank has ‎recently warned the coastal enclave’s economy was on the verge of “immediate collapse.”

Abbas also hopes ‎the sanctions on Hamas will pressure Israel to resume the ‎Israeli-Palestinian peace process, deadlocked since ‎‎2014, the media reports suggested.

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