Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned Hamas not to act like Hizballah in Lebanon

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned Hamas not to act like Hizballah in Lebanon
2 min read
03 October, 2017
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said political rival Hamas must not behave like powerful Islamist movement Hizballah in Lebanon, which commands huge influence in Beirut politics.
Mahmoud Abbas' presidency expired in 2009 [Getty]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that a "Hizballah situation must not be repeated in Gaza", as his Ramallah-based authority and Gaza-based Hamas take their first steps towards reconciliation.

"I will not accept or copy or reproduce the Hizballah example in Lebanon," Abbas told Palestinians in an TV interview, Wafa News Agency reported.

"Everything must be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority (PA)," he added.

There are few parallels between Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hizballah in Lebanon, despite Abbas - whose presidency expired in 2009 - making a comparison, analysts say.

In 2006, Hamas won 74 out of 132 seats in Palestinian elections, against Abbas' Fatah Party which only won 45.

Unhappy with the situation, Fatah refused to take orders from Hamas despite the Islamist party winning the legislative elections with clashes breaking out between the two sides. Gaza ended up cementing its rule in Gaza, while Fatah retained the West Bank.

A breakthrough towards reconciliation was achieved last week when Hamas agreed to some of the PA's demands following a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Abbas had altered the voting system to suppress Hamas' legislative powers.

He has also called for an early election, which Hamas classed as an "undemocratic coup attempt".

At the end of the talks, PA forces will be in charge of the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and Israel.

Ministries and security in the Palestinian territories will also be under Ramallah's control. Abbas has threatened to cancel reconciliation talks if Hamas do not agree to these demands.

In September, Hamas dissolved its administration that runs the besieged Gaza Strip and agreed to hold general elections.

Abbas runs the authority located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but has had no control in Gaza for a decade.

In April, the PA began to phase out energy payments to Israel for Gaza, causing frequent power cuts in the besieged territory and extreme pressure on local hospitals.

The World Health Organisation warned in June that the blackouts threatened Gaza's health service provision and placed people's lives at real risk.

The PA have also reduced the salaries of some employees in Gaza, while the number of Gazans receiving PA permits to travel for medical care has declined.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights - based in the West Bank - called such measures to be reversed after Hamas dissolved the so-called administrative committee, seen as a rival government and created in March.