Tensions are rising again between terror group Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by rival terror group Fatah. At an event in Gaza this marking the end of a military-style summer camp for 25,000 Gazans, top Hamas terrorist Mahmoud A-Zahar called PA chief Mahmoud Abbas a “phony president,” and described the PA as “an Authority of treason.”
The comment is typical of many made in the past several weeks by Hamas spokespeople. On Monday, Hamas spokesperson Abdel-Rahman Shadid said that the PA was “defending the settlers.” On Sunday, the PA returned three Israelis who had ventured into PA-controlled areas back to Israeli officials, prompting Shadid to rail against the PA.
“At a time when the settlers are burning our children, the Palestinian Authority returns settlers to the occupation, and moreover it limits the powers of the struggle, persecutes them, binds their hands, confiscates weapons, provides information on fighters and goes so far as to turn many of them over to the occupation,” he said, referring to the arson in the village of Duma last week.
Last week, Salah Bardawil, a senior Hamas figure, called Abbas “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.”
It's not clear why tensions have risen so sharply in recent weeks, but analysts said the it may have something to do with the supposedly secret talks Hamas has been holding with Israel, guaranteeing a “hudna” ceasefire in exchange for increased access to resources to rebuild Gaza.
According to sources, Hamas is much more amenable to Israeli conditions for a long-term ceasefire which could last as long as five years. Several reports said that Hamas is suffering under the strain of Salafist groups – more than one of which pledges allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS) – and is unable to keep views more extremist than its own from undermining its power. The resulting rocket fire from these groups on Israeli civilians is begging another war, a move which analysts say is a means of drawing Israel into the power conflict over Gaza.
The PA is said to be very concerned about these talks, fearing that an official agreement with Israel would spell the end of any prospect Abbas has of regaining control over Gaza. Israel, for its part, has assured Abbas that no such talks are going on.
Abbas apparently does not believe that – and Hamas is accusing him of preventing an agreement from being reached. However, the terror group's supposed desire to reach a deal with Israel has not stopped Hamas from continuing to threaten terror attacks. At the ceremony, A-Zahar said “our message to the occupier is very clear: We will not accept a blockade. Break the siege because we will not be able to hold back those who want to defend their territory from those who have destroyed their homes and killed their children," he threatened.