Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hamas blasts PA for failing to begin Gaza reconstruction


The Hamas movement on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to facilitate the entry of construction material into the besieged Gaza Strip in order to speed up the reconstruction ahead of winter, as the first major rain of the fall season highlighted the challenges still facing tens of thousands of displaced Gazans.

"Reconstruction of Gaza is one of the most important tasks the PA should carry out according to the reconciliation agreement, but on the condition that there be no obstacles, physical or legal, to the entry of construction material," senior Hamas official Moussa ABu Marzouq said in a statement.

The statement points to growing frustration with the PA's failure to pressure Israel to open the border into Gaza, despite two different negotiation meetings with Israeli officials where it promised to do just that.

It also underlines tension between Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PA despite working together in a technocratic government of national reconciliation, as Hamas has in recent days accused PA security forces of cracking down on members and attacking rallies.

Abu Marzouq reiterated in the statement that Hamas had no problem with the PA coming into Gaza and carrying out reconstruction, expressing frustration that the unity government was failing to fulfill its duties.

"Hamas has questions about several issues which are the duties and responsibilities of the national consensus government," he added, stressing that these responsibilities included the salaries of Gaza civil servants, security arrangements on the border, and managing the Gaza crossings, in addition to the reconstruction process.

PA officials have repeatedly promised that they would take over the crossings between Israel and Gaza -- currently staffed by Hamas, the reason given by Israel for refusing to lift the economic blockade -- but have yet to take meaningful steps. more

Abbas vows legal measures to prevent settler attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday legal measures would be taken to prevent Jewish settlers from attacking Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, having said their presence desecrates the site.

His remarks follow days of clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police, which erupted when right-wing Jewish groups -- including some that call for the destruction of the mosque -- visited the complex and restrictions were imposed on Muslim worship.

"The Palestinian leadership will be taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of settlers on the Al-Aqsa mosque," Abbas said in a speech to the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah party.

"We will not allow settlers to attack the mosque," he added, referring to the entire compound, which is the third holiest site in Islam.

Non-Muslim visits to Al-Aqsa complex are permitted and regulated by police, but as a result of a 1967 agreement, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site for fear it could trigger major disturbances, nor do they enter the mosques there. more