A senior Fatah official revealed on Sunday that there are internal differences among the movement's leaders regarding the reconciliation with Hamas and handing over the Gaza Strip to a unity government, Al-Resalah newspaper has reported.
The official, who requested anonymity, said that the differences surfaced during the meeting of Fatah's Central Committee as President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to lift his sanctions imposed on Gaza two months after Hamas handed over control of the coastal enclave.
"A number of Fatah leaders asked Abbas to take practical measures to support the reconciliation and invest the spirit of the agreement in the current stage in order to reach [Palestinian] unity and finish the outstanding portfolios as soon as possible," explained the official. "However, other leaders called for taking more time to see how the government will work in Gaza before lifting the sanctions."
He stressed that there is concern that handing over responsibility to the government of national accord might create a new split between the Palestinian factions, citing the latest Fatah remarks about the issue as evidence.
According to Fatah Central Committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh, the government of national accord only controls five per cent of the Gaza Strip. However, fellow committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad said that handing over the border crossings to the government means that 50 per cent of Gaza was conceded by Hamas.
Salah Al-Bardaweel of the Hamas Political Bureau responded to Al-Sheikh's remarks with a challenge: "You have received the ministries, the authorities and the border crossings. Show the people what the 95 per cent you have not received is. Let the people and the factions know."