Motasem A DALLOUL
A senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau said on Monday that “the worst is still to come” as far as the Gaza Strip is concerned. Mousa Abu Marzook’s remarks followed the announcement by the Palestinian Authority that it will withdraw its security officers from the Rafah Border Crossing, the only route between Gaza and the outside world through Egypt. He tweeted similar sentiments after the PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh pledged that more punitive measures to tighten the siege on the Palestinians in the coastal enclave are on the way.
This was said after a meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo. Abbas was there to take part in the opening of a mosque and a church in the new administrative capital zone, but it is unclear what exactly passed between the two men. Fatah Central Committee member Dalal Salama said that his movement would hold meetings with Abbas after his return from Cairo to discuss “stricter and more precise” measures against the Palestinians in Gaza.
Last week, when the PA paid its employees in the besieged territory, thousands did not receive their salaries. It was revealed later that they were either Fatah members who are loyal to the former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan — a political rival of Abbas — or those who still disobey Abbas’s diktat to refuse to work in the civil service under the Hamas-led government. Abbas gave his order in 2007 when Hamas pushed Fatah out of the Gaza Strip, ending eighteen months of security chaos which followed the Islamic Resistance Movement’s clear victory in the 2006 general election. The PA leader has paid civil servants to stay at home for the past 12 years in order to usurp the popular vote.
According to Maariv, Abbas is likely to take extra punitive measures against the Palestinian people in Gaza in his efforts to score a political point against Hamas. The newspaper reported the findings of Israeli security officials, who believe that stricter punitive measures against Gaza are likely to affect the security situation in Israel because the Palestinian resistance accuses the occupation state of being behind all such moves and will respond by attacking Israeli targets.