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Hamas, Fatah exchange accusations after Gaza floods

Gaza infrastructure triggers war of words between Hamas, Fatah
2 min read
21 January, 2022
A Fatah-affiliated minister said Hamas should bear responsibility for the collapse of Gaza's infrastructure, as it continues to boycott municipal elections. The Islamic movement's spokesman hit back accusing the PA of complicity with Israel.
Heavy rainfalls hit the Gaza Strip last week. (Getty)

Gaza - The collapse of infrastructure in the Gaza Strip sparked mutual accusations between Hamas, the Islamic movement in control of the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, the party that runs the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.

Last week, the impoverished coastal enclave witnessed three days of heavy rains, exacerbating traffic in many streets, and particularly in areas damaged by the latest conflict between Israel and the Palestinian factions in May 2021.

In May, an 11-day Israeli bombing campaign targeted Gaza, killing more than 250 Palestinians and injuring thousands. Tens of thousands of homes and much of Gaza's basic infrastructure were destroyed.

Locals documented the floods by posting videos on social media. Many were affected, including children returning from schools.

Magdi Al-Saleh, the PA minister for local government, held Hamas fully responsible for the collapse of infrastructure in the Gaza Strip for its refusal to hold municipal elections. Hamas' boycott resulted in the PA withholding public funds that would be needed to repair the war-ravaged infrastructure. The West Bank is scheduled to hold the second phase of its local elections in March despite a boycott by Hamas. The first phase took place in December 2021.

Al-Saleh told The New Arab that the Gaza floods were "a catastrophic event and a real tragedy that almost claimed the lives of dozens of children, as a result of the failure of municipalities there and of their failure to pay their dues to the PA."

"It seems that Hamas does not care about people's lives, nor does it care about their fate... Many countries in the world sympathised with those sad pictures... of the residents of the strip... but Hamas did not," he said.

Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem told The New Arab that "neither al-Saleh nor any other PA official has the right to talk about our crises, since their government actively participates in imposing the Israeli illegal blockade on our people in Gaza."

 "Al-Saleh's statements are biased and consistent with the occupation's narrative," he said, while calling on Fatah officials to be held accountable.

"It would have been better for al-Saleh and his authority to deal with the repercussions of [atmospheric] low pressure in the West Bank, instead of accusing us in the strip," he added.