A senior Fatah official from the occupied West Bank has described the latest measures taken by Palestinian Authority and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas against the people of Gaza as "a collective punishment" which should be "rejected", Al-Resalah reported on Tuesday. "Such measures have negative effects on the Palestinian cause, undermine internal reconciliation and cause new divisions among the Palestinians," explained Dimitri Dilliani MP.
Dilliani said that the policy of imposing sanctions on fellow Palestinian citizens who have nothing to do with the political dispute between the political factions, "is totally unacceptable." He stressed that the PA has to deal with the residents of the Gaza Strip equally because this is the entitlement of everyone.
Fatah as a movement can be regenerated, the MP pointed out. "It will remain so despite being hijacked by Mahmoud Abbas and his team, who are far away from legitimacy." Real legitimacy, he added, comes from the people, not from organisations and titles, which are being seized by Abbas and those around him.
The PA announced two days ago that it has withdrawn its security officers from the Rafah Border Crossing, prompting the Egyptian authorities to close the border altogether. Two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are now effectively locked into the largest open-air prison in the world.
Abbas accused Hamas and the members and officials of Fatah who have been calling for him to step down of being "collaborators". Since April 2017, the PA head has been imposing punitive measures on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as a means of attacking Hamas. Thousands of government employees in Gaza have had their salaries halved and patients needing treatment overseas have had funding applications rejected by Ramallah. The running costs of ministries in the coastal enclave have also been left unpaid.
Added to the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza, these sanctions have helped to destroy the territory's economy and social life and pushed dozens of commercial and industrial companies into bankruptcy. Nevertheless, the senior Fatah official and head of the movement's parliamentarian bloc, Azzam Al-Ahmad, said on Tuesday that even "the air must be cut from Gaza."