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October 17, 2017 1:58 pm

Despite Reconciliation Deal, Hamas Slams Abbas for Not Lifting Gaza Sanctions

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the UN General Assembly last month. Photo: UN.

JNS.org – Despite a reconciliation deal signed last week between rival Palestinian factions, the Palestinian terror group Hamas slammed Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, for not yet lifting crippling sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

“The failure of [Palestinian] Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to respond affirmatively to the popular and national demands to cancel his arbitrary measures against our people in Gaza is unjustifiable and a clear denial of the demands of reconciliation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum tweeted on Monday. “He must bear responsibility for exacerbating the people’s suffering and crises.”

As part of the unity deal, the PA promised to lift sanctions imposed on Hamas-ruled Gaza during the past year in exchange for the restoration of a PA-controlled government in the coastal territory by Dec. 1.

Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said sanctions would likely only be lifted once Hamas allowed the PA to regain power in Gaza.

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“We agreed with Hamas in Cairo to enable the government to work. We need to make sure this is achieved,” Qawasmeh said, The Jerusalem Post reported. “The government will be going to Gaza this week to evaluate the situation. Thereafter, it will send a report to [Abbas], who will make the appropriate decision.”

Several outstanding questions remain regarding the reconciliation deal, including the future of Hamas’s “military wing,” which is comprised of some 25,000 fighters.

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