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Palestinians consult with Cairo on cutting funds to Hamas

Special to WorldTribune.com

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority has threatened to launch a campaign against Hamas.

Officials said the PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was examining sanctions against Hamas. They said the options included the severance of reconciliation talks with and financial aid to the Islamist regime in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

“There will soon be painful decisions,” Azzam Ahmed, an aide to Abbas, said.

Egypt’s relations with Hamas deteriorated in wake of the military coup against President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

The Egyptian military has accused Hamas of sending fighters and weapons to undermine Egypt’s rule of the Sinai Peninsula as well as establishing training camps with the Muslim Brotherhood in the southern Gaza Strip.

Ahmed, the chief Fatah negotiator with Hamas, said the PA was preparing to end any reconciliation effort with Hamas. He said the PA government was drafting unspecified steps that would change relations with the Gaza Strip.

Other officials said Abbas was consulting with Egypt and Jordan to block funds to Hamas. They said the PA chairman could end salaries to more than 20,000 former civil servants in the Gaza Strip, employed until the Hamas takeover in 2007.

“There are consultations with Egypt and Jordan over the future of the
Gaza Strip,” an official said. “There is pressure on Abbas to play a role in
steps that would undermine Hamas’ rule.”

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has sought to expand Palestinian
support for his regime. In late August, Haniyeh offered to include Fatah and
other Palestinian factions in administering the Gaza Strip.

“We call on Fatah to abandon the illusion of ousting Hamas from power,”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

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