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Hamas leader: Consensus government is failing its duties

September 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a senior member of the political bureau of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, said that the Palestinian consensus government has so far “failed” in its duties and suggested for the Palestinians to think of other alternatives after the end of its legal term, Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

Al-Zahar added, during a political meeting that was organised by the Forum of Media Professionals in the Gaza Strip, that: “The government of consensus has not achieved any of its duties and is failing miserably. We will give the government six months, which represents the term that was agreed upon, and then we will think of alternatives, because we cannot let the Palestinian people be controlled by those who cannot bring any achievements.” He did not elaborate on any of these alternatives.

Speaking about Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, Al-Zahar said that all the parties that donated aid to the resistance is a partner in its victory, be it Iran or any other party. He pointed out that “Iran provided funds that strengthened the resistance, its military action and the development of technology, and thus Iran is a partner in our victory.”

Al-Zahar stressed that his movement does not interfere in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, noting that things have relatively improved with Egypt after the Israeli aggression. He also ruled out the possibility of Israel launching new war against the Palestinians in Gaza in the near future, because the Gaza Strip has now become a taboo among the Israeli army, thanks to the resistance.

After nearly seven years of division, Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement on 23 April that included the formation of a consensus government for a period of six months, followed by legislative and presidential elections with a national council established.

On 2 June, the Palestinian factions formed the consensus government and the ministers were sworn in before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Nevertheless, this government has not received any real responsibilities until today, and since the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip ended on 26 August, a renewed state of tension has emerged in the relations between Hamas and Fatah, with the two groups exchanging allegations about a number of issues.

Among the most prominent of conflicts between the two movements, which are considered to be the two largest factions in the Palestinian arena, is the non-payment of the salaries of employees of the previous Hamas government in Gaza, which has been justified by the consensus government after “warnings” were received from donor countries against paying any money to those employees, in addition to the imposition of residential restrictions against the leader of the Fatah movement in Gaza, a charge that was denied by Hamas.

On 7 July, Israel launched an intensive war on the Gaza Strip, which lasted for 51 days and caused the deaths of 2,157 Palestinians, mostly civilians, injuring more than 11,000 others, according to Palestinian medical sources. Israeli airstrikes also completely destroyed 9,000 homes and partially destroyed about 8,000 more, according to the statistics of the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

The Palestinian and Israeli sides reached, on 26 August, a long-term truce under Egyptian auspices, which included a ceasefire and the opening of the commercial crossings with Gaza. The remaining contentious issues were to be discussed within a month of the agreement, notably the exchange of prisoners and the re-opening of Gaza’s seaport and airport.

However, three weeks after the ceasefire agreement was in place, Palestinian officials say that the procedures for lifting the blockade on Gaza have still not begun and that the commercial traffic at the crossings has not witnessed any change.