Hamas and Fatah are involved in a major dispute over security control in the Gaza Strip, only one week after the Palestinian Authority (PA) assumed control over the Gaza border crossings from Hamas as part of their broader reconciliation agreement.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called for the factions to find a resolution to security control issue at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday. The Cabinet subsequently issued a statement saying that the unity government would not be able to carry out its duties without having control of the security forces.
On Monday, Hamdallah called the issue “a big problem at Gaza’s borders,” adding that the PA had “received the borders in theory but without security. It’s impossible to manage the borders without solving the security problem”.
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bazam expressed surprise at Hamdallah’s comments, saying that Hamas had “suggested that the [Hamas] security services in Gaza would be responsible for ongoing security until the subject is regulated”. He added “Senior PA officials who came to Gaza refused and asked all Hamas members, including security personnel, to leave the crossings”.
Hamas handed over administrative control of five border crossings in Gaza to the Palestinian Government of National Consensus headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on 1 November. Though there is currently no Hamas presence at the crossings, Jack Khoury in Haaretz suggested that Hamdallah expects not only security control of border crossings, but full PA security control in Gaza. The Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo on 21 November to discuss the issue.
BICOM is publishing a briefing paper today by Senior Visiting Fellow Brig. Gen. (res) Michael Herzog examining the factors that led to the recent Palestinian reconciliation deal and the major issues that need to be addressed.