The Popular Movement for National Salvation (PMNS) raised on the issue of Palestinian Authority sanctions on Gaza with the Vatican on Thursday. In a message sent to Pope Francis, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the PMNS praised his support for social justice as well as his appeal for mercy to be shown to the poor.
Before presenting the details about the sanctions imposed on Gaza by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the PMNS reminded the head of the Roman Catholic Church about something he uttered during the Latin American Bishops' Conference in 2007: "We live, apparently, in the most unequal part of the world, which suffers the most inequality while efforts to end misery are the least."
The PMNS pointed out to Pope Francis that, "Your words are likely the best current description of the situation in Gaza as Abbas is currently complicit with Israel in the abuse of human values and divine teachings." The UN has predicted that Gaza will be "unliveable" by next year.
Abbas, the PMNS claimed, is heading the smallest and most brutal dictatorship in the Middle East, with backing from Israel. "However, he has based this on an underestimation of the Palestinian people and their capabilities."
The PA President has cut the salaries of thousands of public servants in the Gaza Strip, as well as the stipends paid to 2,500 families of Palestinians wounded, killed or detained by Israel. This is adding to the devastating economic crisis in the besieged territory, where unemployment stands at 60 per cent and 40 per cent of the 2 million plus population lives in abject poverty.
Palestinian security agencies continue to detain journalists and freedom activists, who are often tortured in PA detention centres and prisons. "In authorising this, Abbas and the PA are playing the same role as the Israeli occupation authorities in inflicting intolerable suffering of the people of Palestine."
In what is described as a "flagrant violation of the Palestinian legal, constitutional and legislative authorities", Abbas has ordered the formation of a Constitutional Court to dissolve the freely-elected parliament. He has also dissolved the government of national unity and is struggling to form an administration loyal solely to him.
"After a huge number of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza on 24 February calling for the President to step down," the PMNS wrote to Pope Francis, "we are appealing to you in order to highlight this issue. We ask you to raise it with the international community as part of your efforts to fight oppression and seek justice."