Reconciliation, Anyone? PA, Hamas, Again Fighting over Military Control of Gaza Strip

Passengers waiting at the Rafah border crossing

And now for something completely different: Arabs once again not missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. A week after the Palestinian Authority had announced that it had accepted responsibility for the the Gaza Strip crossings, Hamas and Fatah ar at odds over the management of those crossings.

According to Ha’aretz, on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority during its weekly meeting in Ramallah announced it could not guarantee the proper operation of the crossings without receiving routine security authority for the entire Gaza Strip. In this spirit, PA Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah called on the factions slated to meet in Cairo on November 21 to discuss this issue in order to arrive at a mutually agreed resolution.

Al-Hamdallah’s remarks were greeted with seething anger in Gaza, where Hamas has been in charge of routine security for more than a decade. Hamas officials are saying Fatah should take charge of the crossings at once—especially the Raffah crossing to Egypt, never mind the broader arrangements. The longer the crossing to Egypt remains closed, the worse things are getting among Gaza’s civilians, they argued.

A spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza told reporters the al-Hamdallah’s statement was puzzling, considering that Hamas had already handed over to Palestinian Authority the full responsibility for all the crossings, ordering Hamas fighters to abandoned all their positions there.

According to the same spokesman, Hamas is disturbed by the fact that PA senior officials are issuing public demands regarding the military control of Gaza ahead of a scheduled meeting of PA and Hamas security delegations planned for later this month.