Fatah has called on the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to “admit its failure” in managing the Gaza Strip. Describing the Hamas administration as “bad”, Fatah rejected the idea of managing the Rafah border crossing jointly with the Islamist government which won the 2006 Palestinian election. A spokesman said that sending Palestinian Presidential Guards to the border would make them “subject to Hamas blackmail”.
Fatah was responding to statements from Hamas senior official Salah Bardawil, who had praised the Gaza security services’ role in keeping traffic flowing through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt. “We have witnessed excellent, quality management,” said Bardawil, “which draws on the clear experience dating back to 2007’s military restriction in the Gaza Strip.”
He said that in the event of reaching an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, everything will be shared, including the management of the Rafah border crossing. He pointed out that Fatah was the party that came up with the suggestion of the joint management of the crossing, in agreement with the Egyptians.
“It is impossible for us to send our soldiers to the Rafah crossing to be at Hamas’s mercy and subject to its extortion,” said Jibril Al-Rajoub of Fatah. “We do not trust Hamas.”
MEMO’s senior editor suggested that Fatah’s criticism of the elected government in the Gaza Strip takes no account of the Israeli-led blockade and numerous military incursions which would have hampered any government’s performance, Fatah’s included. “It looks very obvious that Fatah is trying to win Brownie points from Israel and the West by jumping on the anti-Islamist bandwagon which has been encouraged by the coup in Egypt,” said Ibrahim Hewitt.