Arab League: ‘Hamas-Fatah belligerency hinders efforts to rebuild Gaza’

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elarabi said on Sunday that the mistrust and animosity  between Fatah & Hamas was dampening efforts at rehabilitating Gaza.


Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elarabi said on Sunday that the dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority was hindering efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.

Members of a Palestinian family warm themselves by a fire at the remains of their house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling. – Photo: REUTERS

Elarabi told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that the Arab League was holding consultations with donor countries to find a way to help the residents of the Gaza Strip in light of the ongoing power struggle between the two Palestinian parties.


He said that the Arab League would ask the donor countries to channel funds to the Gaza Strip through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

Elarabi predicted that the consultations would result in an agreement on a mechanism for channeling the funds to the Gaza Strip soon.

“The internal differences and the absence of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are behind the delay in reconstructing the Gaza Strip,” Elarabi said.

He also expressed opposition to any move to label Hamas a terrorist group. He was referring to a recent court ruling in Egypt that outlawed Hamas and labeled its armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, a terror group.

“The right to resistance is one hundred percent guaranteed,” he said, adding that he was in touch with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

Elarabi accused Iran of seeking to drive a wedge between Sunnis and Shias and meddling in the internal affairs of the Arab world. He said that Iran was behind the recent events in Yemen and was meddling in the internal affairs of Bahrain.

He also accused Israel of being behind the unrest in the Arab world, saying it benefited from the problems facing the Arab countries.

Hamas welcomed the Arab League chief’s statements and expressed hope that they would put an end to the “smear campaign” waged by the Egyptian media against the Islamist movement.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri expressed hope that the statements would also prompt the Egyptian authorities to change their policy toward the Gaza Strip and reopen the Rafah border crossing.

PLO leaders, meanwhile, are scheduled to hold a meeting in Ramallah this week to discuss the continued dispute with Hamas and its impact on efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.

They will also discuss the current stalemate in the peace process and the repercussions of Israel’s decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues.

Mohamed Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official and former negotiator with Israel, said on Sunday that the PA was on the “verge of collapse” due to the severe financial crisis it is facing as a result of the Israeli move.

“The financial situation of the Palestinian Authority is very difficult,” Shtayyeh said. “We are facing a number of economic crises because of the Israeli decision to withhold our revenues.” He said that because of the decision the PA was unable to pay salaries to its civil servants or participate in the effort to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

“Israel will pay a heavy price if the Palestinian Authority collapses,” Shtayyeh cautioned. “This will have new repercussions on security, which will also affect Israeli security.” He said that despite the Israeli move, the Palestinians will pursue their efforts to file war crime charges against Israelis with the International Criminal Court.


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