[News] Hamas officials reactivate separate Palestinian parliament in Gaza

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 15 11:52:44 EST 2015

*Hamas officials reactivate separate parliament in Gaza*
Published yesterday (updated) 15/01/2015 14:39

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas-affiliated parliament members in the Gaza 
Strip on Wednesday reactivated the coastal enclave's parliament, which 
had been suspended since a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas was agreed 
upon in April.

The convening of the session, which was attended exclusively by Hamas 
legislators, represents a major eruption of tensions within the 
Palestinian coalition government and presents yet another hurdle for 
officials trying to hold the agreement together.

Deputy speaker of the Gaza parliament Ahmad Bahar delivered a speech at 
the beginning of the session in which he warned of a possible "blowup" 
in the Gaza Strip as a result of the delay in reconstruction, the 
ongoing crippling Israeli siege, and the Palestinian Authority's failure 
to pay monthly salaries to civil servants employed under the former 
Hamas government.

"A blowup is at a distance of two-bows length or less if the 
international community does not take action to end the suffering of the 
people of Gaza," he said.

Bahar slammed the Palestinian national consensus government for keeping 
itself aloof from the suffering of the Palestinian people to such a 
degree that they had decided to sacrifice the Gaza employees in an 
"oppressive" manner.

His comments on the employees dispute comes after days of back and forth 
between the PA and the Gaza, as the PA has employed its own personnel in 
Gaza and has refused to take responsibility for the approximately 50,000 
employees from the former-Hamas run government, a key Hamas demand.

Bahar also criticized the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for his 
participation in the recent Paris rally against terrorism in his speech.

Abbas, he said, should have instead invited the world leaders to 
"confront Israel's terrorism."

"Or maybe tens of thousands of destroyed houses and martyrs over the 
past years are worthless compared to the victims who fell in France!"

The Fatah movement, on the other hand, considered the parliament session 
in Gaza a unilateral move by the Hamas bloc and a negative step back 
from reconciliation.

Fatah-affiliated lawmaker Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma'an reporter that 
holding a session without any of the other factions present indicates 
that "partnership according to Hamas means that Hamas can do whatever it 
wants and whenever it wants and all others should only be supportive."

Abu Shahla slammed the criticism against president Abbas at the 
parliament, adding: "President Abbas is an elected president, so how 
could he be attacked and accused at the Palestinian parliament!"

The convening of the parliament comes only a day after employees of the 
former Hamas-run government entered a cabinet meeting of the unity 
government taking place in Gaza in protest at their lack of payment in 
the last eight months.

Hamas, which technically stepped down in June but has remained the de 
facto power in Gaza, has demanded that the government take 
responsibility for its employees.

By contrast, the 70,000 workers laid off in 2007 when Hamas took power 
in the Strip have remained on the Palestinian Authority's payroll, 
despite being unemployed. They have been working again since the unity deal.

An April 23 agreement between Hamas and Fatah paved the way for the 
formation of a government of national unity for the first time in seven 
years, but Israel has strongly opposed the deal and severely targeted 
Hamas in the months that followed.

Critics have noted that the unity government has made few changes in 
Gaza and failed to help with reconstruction after Israel's assault on 
the Strip in a 50-day war over summer 2013.--
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