Hamas opposes Palestinian Authority ‘exclusive’ role in Gaza aid, reconstruction

Israel has informed Hamas that the Palestinian Authority should be responsible for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the delivery of Qatari cash grants.

The Israeli message was relayed to Hamas through the United Nations, sources in the Gaza Strip told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds.

On Monday, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar met in the Gaza Strip with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.

After the meeting, Sinwar said that the talks have failed. “This was a bad meeting,” he told reporters.

According to the Al-Quds report, Hamas rejected the demand to allow the PA to exclusively oversee the reconstruction effort and the entry of the Qatari grants into the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas considered this [demand] an attempt to twist its arm,” the sources were quoted as saying. “Hamas has no objection to the PA managing the reconstruction file on the condition that it be done through national partnership and not in a state of exclusivity.”

On Monday, the Ramallah-based Palestinian cabinet announced the formation of a team for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of last month’s fighting between Israel and Hamas.

But Hamas officials said that they were unaware of the decision by the PA to form the committee, adding that the move was not coordinated in advance with Hamas or other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

Naji Sarhan, a senior official with the Gaza-based Ministry of Public Works, said that the PA added his name to the team without his knowledge. “I was surprised by the decision of the Palestinian cabinet in Ramallah to form a team for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip without informing us or coordinating with us in advance,” Sarhan said, adding that he has decided to withdraw from the team.

Sarhan revealed that other Palestinians whose names appeared on the PA cabinet’s list were also not consulted prior to the announcement.

Referring to the PA-Hamas controversy surrounding the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday night that his government was the “only legitimate address” for carrying out the work.

Abbas told Fatah leaders during a meeting in Ramallah that the PA was in contact with Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and other countries regarding the reconstruction effort. “We have said that the State of Palestine is the only legitimate address for the reconstruction,” Abbas stressed. “This requires a full cessation of the aggression in all areas of the State of Palestine.”






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