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PA will only go to Gaza if Hamas hands over control all at once

Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah [Prime Minister Office/Apaimages]

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has insisted that his government will not go to Gaza unless Hamas hands over control in one package, Safa news agency reported on Monday.

“We are ready to take up all responsibilities in Gaza,” Hamdallah said while attending a function in occupied Nablus, “but this will not be applicable if the responsibilities are handed over one by one.”

Hamdallah’s remarks came a year after the PA imposed punitive measures on the Gaza Strip, which has been under a decade-long Israeli siege. The measures included slashing the salaries of PA employees in Gaza by 30 per cent, reducing electricity supplies to the enclave, cutting the number of medical referrals and forcing thousands of public servants into early retirement.

“Taking up responsibilities in Gaza,” Hamdallah stressed, “is materialised by the full handover of all security, legal, administrative and financial powers.”

Read: Hamas must transfer control of Gaza Strip, says PA

Such a precondition, however, contradicts the agreement with Hamas which was brokered by Egypt last year. The deal stipulated a gradual handover of the Gaza Strip with the PA paying salaries for public servants in the territory.

On the ground, Hamas has already handed over control of all the ministries, authorities and border crossings, but still collects internal taxes as handing over this function was conditional upon the PA paying salaries to its employees in Gaza, which has not happened yet.

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