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Hamas spells out conditions to sit with Fatah over running Gaza

Image of Dr Khalil al-Hayyah during his news conference on 18 April 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Image of Dr Khalil al-Hayyah during his news conference on 18 April 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

A senior Hamas official in Gaza announced on Tuesday three conditions for sitting with a Fatah delegation to talk about running the besieged territory.

“We will not hold talks with Fatah until [Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah] President Mahmoud Abbas retreats from his latest measures about tightening the siege on Gaza,” Khalil Al-Hayya told journalists during a news conference in the coastal enclave.

He has to cancel the salary cuts of the PA’s employees in Gaza; resume benefit payments for Gaza’s poor; and cancel the taxes imposed on Gaza’s only functioning power plant.

Early this month, Abbas announced that he is sending a delegation to sit with Hamas in Gaza to discuss the issue of ending the internal division. However, Al-Hayya said that none of the Fatah officials in Gaza has spoken about this delegation. “We have only heard about it from the mass media,” he insisted.

Read: Hamas slams Abbas’ policy of intimidation

Furthermore, he repeated that if a delegation does arrive in Gaza, Hamas does not want to sit alone with its members. “The meeting will be held in the presence of the other Palestinian factions to be witnesses to the talks,” he explained.

Al-Hayya added that the Islamic movement is “shocked” by Abbas’s threats against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. “Our people deserve to live in dignity like anyone else,” he stressed. “What Abbas is doing is collective punishment of all Gazans, regardless of their political affiliations, even Fatah, led by Abbas himself.”

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