Consensus Government convenes in Gaza for first time since 2014.
CAIRO – 3 October 2017: A good sign of moving on with the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas came as the Consensus Government lifted the financial sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip for months, during their first cabinet meeting Tuesday.
The Consensus Government convenes in Gaza for the first time since 2014 on Tuesday. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah headed the first cabinet meeting as the first actual procedure to assume administration of Gaza following dissolving the administrative committee that used to run Gaza affairs by Hamas Movement.
Hamas had cut its annual military budget from $200 million in 2014—the year of the last Hamas-Israel war—to just $50 million this year, Israeli media reported.
Gaza has experienced great devastation due to Abbas’s fund cuts. Hamas spent $25 million to buy diesel from Egypt in September, and will apparently spend as much or more in each of the coming months. Because it has been forced to pay for some of Gaza’s civilian needs, it can no longer afford to spend as much on its military wing.
Egypt’s General Intelligence Services Chief Khalid Fawzi is expected to visit Palestine on Tuesday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, before paying a visit to the Gaza Strip.
Cairo sponsored the Palestinian reconciliation talks over the last 11 years, which finally resulted in the latest unity initiative, following frequent failures.
Since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel. The Strip is under blockade and suffers from severe water and electricity shortages, an economic slump and an unemployment rate exceeding 40 percent.
The coming days will answer many questions about whether Hamas and Fatah are really prepared to share power in Palestine.