Hamas officials on Wednesday rejected demands by Fatah that the group hand over rule of Gaza as part of a reconciliation agreement, calling instead for an "uprising" against Palestinian Authority security forces, the Ma’an news agency reported.
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad had said on Sunday that Hamas "foiled" efforts towards a unity government, and that the group must hand over rule of Gaza as a condition for forming the new government.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in response that the Fatah leader's comments created tension and were "untrue," blaming the failure to form a unity government on Fatah's "factionalism."
He added that Fatah's calls to reform the unity government were a media maneuver, reiterating his movement's willingness to form the government based on national consensus.
The Palestinian unity agreement signed in April 2014 sought to end seven years of bad blood between Fatah and Hamas, but the sides have continued to quarrel over many issues.
The unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in June when Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.
Negotiations on a new government were set to restart after the Eid celebrations marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but the sides have continued to quarrel.
Earlier this month, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in Gaza and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from Judea and Samaria, saying that an arrest campaign of over 200 members was carried out by the PA to target reconciliation efforts between the two factions.
Meanwhile, Ma’an reported, Hamas deputies renewed calls for a "revolt" against the PA over its sweeping arrests of members of the group.
The deputies, in an act of defiance, held a meeting in the parliament building in Gaza City that has not convened officially since 2007 when Hamas expelled PA security forces after a week of deadly clashes.
They called for "an uprising and a revolt against the political arrests" carried out by the PA in Judea and Samaria and for Palestinian factions to adopt "a firm stand against the Authority's crimes against the resistance and its members."
The deputies condemned the PA's security cooperation with Israel under the 1993 Oslo accords as amounting to "high treason" that served "Zionist security" interests, according to Ma’an.