Tension Grips Gaza After Vote Call

Political tension gripped the Palestinian territories on Sunday, a day after President Mahmoud Abbas called snap polls.

Tension Grips Gaza After Vote Call

The move set off fears that the standoff between Hamas — the resistance movement that swept parliamentary elections at the start of this year — and the once dominant Fatah movement of Abbas could slip into a civil strife, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

A member of the presidential guard was killed and several people injured Sunday in what a security official claimed was an attempt by Hamas members to storm a presidential guard training camp.

Hamas's armed wing Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades categorically denied any link to the attack.

"This is a wrong and irresponsible accusation," Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Al-Qassam, told Reuters.

A Palestinian boy was shot dead and at least 18 others wounded late Saturday, December 16, as thousands of armed loyalists of the two rivals, some of them masked, took to the streets of Gaza.

The ruling Hamas has denounced Abbas's call for early presidential and legislative elections as "a coup d'etat against the will of the Palestinian people".

Deputy Prime Minister Naser El-Din Al-Shaer has urged the supporters of both Hamas and Fatah to display restraint and stay at home.

Abbas said early elections were the way to resolve the seething tensions with Hamas following months of crippling economic blockade by the West.

No date was set, but a senior aide to Abbas said the polls would take place "between now and three months".

Parliamentary Vote


Palestinian faction leaders, including veteran Fatah leader Kaddumi (2nd left), dismissed Abbas's call as "illegal." (Reuters)

Hamas legislators were expected to call a parliamentary vote on Sunday declaring Abbas's move illegal.

The Palestinian basic law, which acts as a constitution, has no provision for calling early elections.

Fatah officials say Abbas can do so by issuing a presidential decree, a move Hamas insists would be illegal.

The current parliament, elected in January, normally would remain in place until the end of 2010.

Syria-based Palestinian faction leaders also rejected in unison Abbas's "illegal" call and called on the Palestinian people to stand united.

"We reject the holding of early legislative elections in the absence of any real reasons justifying such a move, which would be illegal, and without any basis in the national Palestinian consensus," they said in a statement read at a press conference.

They stressed that democratic and honest elections had already taken place, and that now was the time for a government of national unity and the pursuit of dialogue.

Among those at the press conference were Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, veteran Fatah leader Faruq Kaddumi, Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Shalah and Ahmad Jibril, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The statement condemned a string of rival attacks in recent days, including an attack on the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya which Hamas charged was an assassination attempt by Fatah.

Abbas's declaration followed a week of rising tensions and violence between his Fatah party and Hamas, and followed the collapse of months of tortuous talks on forming a national unity government.

Source: islamonline.net

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16