Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blast Targeting PA Convoy Deepens Crisis Between PA And Hamas

Blast targeting Hamdallah blows Palestinian rift wide open

The explosion that targeted Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy in the Gaza Strip has deepened the crisis between the PA and Hamas, and exposed the high degree of mistrust and animosity between the two parties.

Some Palestinians described the incident as the “final nail in the coffin of Palestinian reconciliation and unity.”

They said that Tuesday’s explosion reminded them of charges made by PA officials, who claimed that Hamas had plotted to assassinate PA President Mahmoud Abbas in a similar way more than 10 years ago.
Other Palestinians, however, said it was premature to assess the damage the explosion had caused to efforts to end the power struggle between Hamas and the PA’s ruling Fatah faction. They expressed hope that the incident would prompt the Egyptians to intensify their efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah rivalry.
“We’re now back to square one,” remarked a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in the West Bank. “This is a very serious crisis, and it will take time to heal the wound. It’s now up to the two sides to decide whether they want to escalate the situation of work towards calming things down. We hope that Egypt will not abandon its mediation efforts.”
The explosion, which has been denounced by the PA as a “cowardly assassination attempt” by Hamas, is seen as a severe blow to Egypt’s ongoing efforts to persuade the two rival parties to implement the “reconciliation” deal they signed in Cairo late last year.
Tuesday’s incident occurred while senior Egyptian security officials were visiting the Gaza Strip in yet another bid to end the impasse and pave the way for the implementation of the “reconciliation” agreement. In the past two months, the Egyptians have been working hard to prevent the downfall of the “reconciliation” agreement they helped secure late last year.

But it’s now hard to see how the Egyptians would be able to continue with their efforts, especially in wake of the war of words that erupted between Hamas and the PA after the explosion.
The PA and its Fatah faction responded to the explosion with unprecedented speed, holding Hamas fully responsible for the attempt on the life of the prime minister and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj.

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