During his brief visit to the Gaza Strip yesterday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called for Hamas to hand over control of internal security in the coastal enclave, Safa News Agency has reported.
“As long as we are talking about one weapon and one legitimacy,” he asked, “how can we take up responsibilities in Gaza without taking up the responsibility for internal security?”
Hamdallah made a brief visit to the besieged territory and took part in the inauguration of a sewage treatment plant. Just minutes after entering Gaza, his convoy was targeted by an explosion that caused light damage to three vehicles. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Although the Prime Minister went ahead with the inauguration as planned, once it was finished he returned immediately to the West Bank through the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel. During the ceremony, where he blamed Hamas for the explosion, his aides loaded their vehicles with fresh fish from Gaza port.
The PA official claimed that Hamas did not hand over the government offices in the Gaza Strip and called on the movement to hand over internal security to the Palestinian Authority and Fatah security agencies. Major General Tawfiq Abu Naim, who is the head of the security agencies in Gaza, received Hamdallah and secured his visit.
According to Abu Naim and other Hamas officials, the PA and Fatah has not arranged any meeting between the security services in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since the announcement of the reconciliation deal in Cairo on 12 October last year.
Commenting on Hamdallah’s call for handing over internal security in Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the speed of the Fatah and PA condemnation of the convoy incident, during which they blamed Hamas, “casts doubts” on who was really responsible.