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Fearing backlash, Fatah postpones visit to Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested against President Mahmoud Abbas' policies against the besieged enclave on 2 May 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested against President Mahmoud Abbas' policies against the besieged enclave [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Fatah has postponed an expected visit by a senior delegation to the Gaza Strip until further notice, sources told the Palestinian newspaper yesterday.

The sources said that the visit was called off by Fatah Central Committee. The delegation had intended to hold meetings with Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Sources believe the visit was postponed to avoid officials being blamed for the failure of reconciliation efforts.

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement in October last year which saw the Palestinian Authority taking control of ministries and border crossings in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Read: Despite reconciliation, PA still imposing sanctions on Gaza

However many have accused the PA of failing to fulfil its part of the deal as salaries of civil servants have remained unpaid, the electricity crisis has not been resolved and borders continue to be closed.

Cleaning staff at medical centres in Gaza went on strike earlier this week demanding their outstanding wages be paid. Workers say they have not been paid for five months. Hospitals in the Strip have been forced to scale back their work as a result of the walkout with the Ministry of Health saying 500 surgeries have been postponed.

Fatah member Fraih Abu Middain said yesterday that President Mahmoud Abbas told him that “Gaza is going to starve until it bows down. Hamas must handover government, money and weapons in order to achieve the reconciliation.”

International aid groups have repeatedly condemned the PA and Israel’s use of collective punishment when dealing with the Gaza Strip.

Read: Work at main Gaza hospital stops for first time since 1964

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