Friday, January 16, 2015

Hamas officials reactivate separate parliament in Gaza - Ma'an News



by Ma'an News


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.

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.


Ma'an News

Source: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=753859

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