The tension in relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reached a new peak this weekend, after a period of mutual accusations over the responsibility for the failure of the political partnership between the parties.
The latest chapter in the saga came on Saturday, when Salah Bardawil, a senior Hamas figure, sharply attacked PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, following a statement Abbas made several days ago at a meeting of the Fatah movement’s advisory council, in which he argued that Hamas refuses to implement the final clauses in the reconciliation agreement regarding personnel changes in the unity government.
Bardawil told the Quds Press news agency that Abbas does not believe in national unity and proceeded to called him “a dictator who every day proves to be an enemy of the Palestinian people and who unsuitable to govern.”
He added that Abbas is the main reason that the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah is not being implemented, accusing Abbas of stalling the formation of a joint Arab effort to deal with the "Zionist enemy".
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also attacked Abbas, and said that Abbas’s claims that Hamas is negotiating with Israel are “fabricated lies”.
The Palestinian unity agreement signed in April 2014 sought to end seven years of bad blood between Abbas's Fatah movement and Hamas, but the sides have continued to quarrel over many issues.
The unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in June when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.
Since the unity government was dissolved, the PA’s security forces began a crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria. PA officials recently said about 100 Hamas members had been arrested over alleged plans to attack the PA.
Hamas later alleged that more than 200 of its members had been arrested by the PA, with most of them tortured.