Fatah, the leading faction in the Palestinian Authority (PA), welcomed the opening of Rafah Crossing between Gaza and the Sinai, while emphasizing that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the PA's embassy in Egypt are working to improve conditions in the terror stronghold of Gaza.
Fatah spokesperson Ahmed Assaf said the PA appreciates the security difficulties Egypt faces dealing with Salafist terror in the Sinai Peninsula, in a likely reference to past Egyptian claims that Hamas provided Sinai terrorists with weapons via the Gaza smuggling tunnels Egypt has been cracking down on.
Assaf also called on the Hamas movement, which holds de facto control in Gaza after having ousted Fatah in 2007, to hand over control of the border crossing to the PA unity government, an issue that has been highly contentious between the two rival factions.
"Hamas is refusing to hand over the border crossings and is thwarting all the efforts of the government on this issue," he said.
The Fatah spokesperson emphasized that Gaza is part of the land the PA aims to control, saying, "there won't be a state without Gaza, there won't be a state in Gaza, and the Israeli plan to separate the (Gaza) Strip to establish a state at the expense of Jerusalem and the (West) Bank will fail thanks to the efforts of our people in Gaza."
Assaf's statement once again highlights how the unity government, formed after Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last April torpedoing peace talks between the PA and Israel, does not truly function or have any control in Gaza.
Not only has Gaza proven impervious to the PA attempts to rule it from Ramallah via the unity government, Hamas last summer even tried to launch a coup attempt against the PA in Judea and Samaria which was foiled by Israel.