Hamas leader says reconciliation deal is collapsing

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Hamas leader Yaha Sinwar has warned that the reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is falling apart.

Sinwar told a meeting with youth activists that: “Whoever doesn’t see that reconciliation is collapsing is blind. Some people want reconciliation on Israeli and American terms, which means handing over weapons and the tunnel and rocket capabilities.”

While Hamas and the PA publicly maintain they are committed to the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo on 12 October, the sides have failed to resolve outstanding issues regarding the status of Hamas military wing. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been clear that he opposes a so-called “Hezbollah model” for Hamas’s role in Gaza, in which Hamas would not be responsible for running civilian affairs but maintained control over its military forces and weapons.

The PA did not take over full civil control of the Gaza Strip on 1 December as planned and the Rafah Crossing is partially closed. Abbas has not yet transferred funds to Gaza and no solution has been found regarding the estimated 110,000 officials (approximately 40,000 officials of the Hamas administration, 40,000 PA officials who have not worked for the past 10 years and another 35,000 members of Hamas’s internal security service) in Gaza who receive, or received, salaries from Hamas or the PA. This is due to be resolved by February 2018.

Hamas has also been challenged by Salafi-Jihadi organisations, who fired 27 missiles at Israel between 6-18 December. Hamas has arrested and interrogated a number of Salafi-Jihadi fighters this week and Israeli media have reported they were detained and tortured.