Palestinians and Hamas militants chant slogans during a military show against Israel's newly-installed security measures at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
CAIRO – 4 August 2017: Hamas political bureau member Salah al-Bardwil said in a statement Thursday that Hamas would dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza once the Palestinian Authority (PA) “takes over all responsibilities in the Strip,” according to Maan News Agency.
Bardawil added that Hamas is not hindering the Palestinian national reconciliation and that the movement, controlling Gaza since 2007, is willing to take this move should the PA retract all its punitive measures imposed on the Gaza Strip in recent months. He added that Hamas is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as a result of these punitive measures.
Furthermore, he called upon all Palestinian factions to “immediately start a national dialogue to achieve a government that represents national unity and gives the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) the authority to perform its duties,” according to Maan News Agency.
In his statement, Bardawil also said that “Hamas’s stance is a response to the people’s voice in Jerusalem and everywhere, and a confirmation of Hamas’s commitment to national interests and past agreements.” The Hamas political bureau member also called for presidential and legislative elections, saying they “would come out with the best interests of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas’s statement came a day following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with a Hamas delegation in the West Bank to discuss national reconciliation. Abbas informed the delegation that "if Hamas dissolves the administrative committee it had established to run the Gaza Strip and enables the consensus government of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to work freely in Gaza, then all measures recently applied to the Gaza Strip will be retracted." Abbas has confirmed this statement on many occasions, including his announcement of freezing all coordination relations with Israel on July 21.
Abbas’ cutting of coordination relations with Israel came following the Israeli escalations at Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 14, which resulted in the killing of three Palestinian youth and an Israeli soldier at the Al-Aqsa compound. National reconciliation calls on the Palestinian popular level arose following increased Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, including installing metal detection gates at all entrances to the mosque. Palestinians rejected and protested these actions by Israel and continued to pray in the streets of Jerusalem outside the mosque until Israel retreated from its decision.
Earlier in 2017, Hamas announced forming an
in the Gaza Strip, and the PA accused Hamas then of attempting to form a shadow government and form an independent state in Gaza. As a result of this move by Hamas, the PA imposed several measures that exacerbated the already worsened situation in the Strip in order to wrestle control of the territory from Hamas. The PA slashed funding for Israeli fuel to the Gaza Strip, which resulted in reducing the supply of electricity to Gaza and forced restrictions in the medical sector and reduced Gaza’s monthly ministry budget from $4 million to $500,000, affecting the most vulnerable in the Strip. Furthermore, the PA made huge cuts to salaries of PA civil servants in Gaza, ranging from 30-70 percent of their original salaries.
Continuous blaming between the two fighting factions led to failure of all reconciliation attempts. Both Fatah and Hamas failed to hold their promises of reconciliation and disappointed the Palestinian people, especially the suffering people of the Gaza Strip. Each passing moment deepens and worsens the national fragmentation in Palestine, leaving the new generations to pay the high price.