Abbas pledges to ramp up Gaza sanctions

Abbas pledges to ramp up Gaza sanctions
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Updated 06 August 2017

Abbas pledges to ramp up Gaza sanctions

Abbas pledges to ramp up Gaza sanctions

GAZA CITY: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to increase sanctions on the Gaza Strip, drawing a fresh attack from its Hamas rulers.
Abbas, the leader of the internationally-recognized Palestinian government based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been seeking to weaken Hamas by cutting power supplies to crowded Gaza.
On Saturday, he said he would continue with sanctions on the coastal strip, despite UN concerns that it amounts to collective punishment of its two million residents.
“We will continue the gradual stopping of financial allocations to the Gaza Strip until Hamas commits to reconciliation” with the Abbas administration, the president said.
“Since the coup, we have paid a billion and a half dollars to the Gaza Strip,” Abbas said, referring to the 2007 overthrow of his Fatah movement by Hamas in Gaza.
“We will not allow this to continue,” the official Palestinian news agency reported him as saying in Arabic.
“Either things will go as they are meant to be, or we will continue to reduce these funds,” he said, accusing Hamas of stealing some of the funds.
Hamas responded late Saturday in a statement: “Attacking Hamas and threatening the people of Gaza with more sanctions is a blow to reconciliation efforts.”
It accused the Palestinian Authority of working with Israel to isolate Gaza and bring suffering to its people.
Both sides have previously committed to reconciliation, but repeated attempts have failed.
The Palestinian Authority had been paying for some electricity to be delivered to Gaza since 2007, but in recent months has reduced the amount.
Gazans now receive only a couple of hours of electricity a day, delivered from the territory’s own power station and others in Israel and Egypt.
The Palestinian Authority has also cut stipends to its former Gaza staff forced out of office by Hamas, in a move analysts see as seeking to sow discontent in the enclave.
Jordan’s King Abdallah plans to meet Monday with Abbas on his first visit in five years to the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Mohammed Shtayyeh, a top official in the Fatah party of Abbas, said the two leaders would discuss efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been at a standstill since 2014.
It will be the first visit since December 2012 by Abdallah — whose country is custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem and which has a 2004 peace treaty with Israel — to the Palestinian political capital in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Jordan intervened last month to help resolve a crisis over access to Haram Al-Sharif Mosque compound in the Old City of East Jerusalem.