Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to withdraw the Palestinian Authority from its unity government with Hamas over allegations of uncooperative behavior, violence, and embezzlement, The Financial Times reports:
Mr Abbas, speaking on Saturday, accused Hamas of operating a “shadow government” in Gaza, saying its ministries and officials remained in power and had not stepped aside for the Palestinian Authority, as outlined in April’s Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord.“If Hamas won’t accept a Palestinian state with one government, one law and one gun, then there won’t be any partnership between us,” Mr Abbas said. “This is our condition and we won’t back away from it.” […]Last month, Fatah angered Hamas when it accused the Islamist group of selling food and medical aid sent to Gaza on the black market.Fatah also accused Hamas “militias” of shooting or beating dozens of its members in Gaza. Mr Abbas said on Saturday that Hamas had killed 120 young men during the war for breaking a curfew, and sentenced others to death by summary execution on Gaza’s streets.
The bad blood between the Palestinian factions has been increasingly on display this summer. In August, Israel’s Shin Bet security service revealed a Hamas plot for a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Abbas recently said that Hamas was to blame for many of the deaths in the recent Gazan war. Abbas also needs to shore up his political position, as Hamas has gained popularity:
Further fuelling tensions between the two sides, a poll published last week by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that Ismail Haniya, Hamas’ former Gaza prime minister, would easily trounce Mr Abbas in a Palestinian election if one were to be held now.
Abbas’s threat to dissolve the unity government is a further sign of Hamas’s isolation, where the Sunni states have been tacitly in agreement with Israel on the need to neutralize the terror group. Hamas may have seen its popularity among Palestinians rise after the war with Israel, but its standing in the region is at a notable low.