Monday, September 15, 2014

EU Rep in Gaza: 'Lots of Anger Here – Directed at Palestinians'

by Hillel Fendel

EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter warns of 'desperation' in Gaza, and senses much inter-Arab resentment there.

Flash 90
John Gatt-Rutter, the EU's representative to the West Bank and Gaza, says, "There is a lot of anger in Gaza, and a lot of it is aimed at the Palestinians."

Gatt-Rutter said he senses widespread despondency in Gaza and warns that it could lead to renewed warfare with Israel, reports the European Jewish Press. A month-long ceasefire currently underway has another 11 days before indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas resume – or, Hamas threatens, it will again start firing rockets at Israel.

“We are not hearing any good words [in Gaza] about anyone at the moment," Gatt-Rutter told reporters. The local population in Gaza is resentful that their major humanitarian needs have not been met, and that salaries have not been paid.

Ironically, the tensions between Fatah and Hamas – the two branches of the Palestinian Authority – could actually be the trigger for renewed warfare with Israel. Fatah, headed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), has threatened to dissolve the latest PA unity government if Hamas does not recognize “one authority, one gun, one law” in Gaza in the form of PA/Fatah control. If this threat materializes, this in turn will jeopardize the reconstruction efforts in Gaza, because the international donor countries will not rush to contribute funds that Fatah does not oversee.

Another flashpoint between Hamas and Fatah is the concept of direct talks between Hamas and Israel. After a Hamas leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said recently that Hamas was ready to negotiate directly with "Tel Aviv" – it does not recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish capital – Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf basically accused Hamas of "treason" for the idea: "Since when do Palestinian factions negotiate with Israel on their own? Isn't this treason and a threat to the unity of Palestinians and their political position?"

Yet another point of contention between Fatah and Hamas is the notion that troops of the former will man the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt in the framework of future arrangements. Egypt and other countries support this idea, but Hamas does not.

Hillel Fendel


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