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Abbas Threatens to End Unity with Hamas in Gaza

  • VOA News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and his foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, right, arrive for an Arab League Foreign Ministers emergency meeting at the league's headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 7, 2014.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and his foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, right, arrive for an Arab League Foreign Ministers emergency meeting at the league's headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 7, 2014.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is threatening to end his unity government in Gaza with Hamas militants if they do not allow the Palestinian Authority to run the narrow enclave along the Mediterranean.

Speaking to Arab journalists in Cairo, Abbas said he did not trust Hamas "because they change their words all the time."

The Islamist Hamas movement and Abbas' Fatah rivals ended years of bitter, sometimes bloody conflict with an April pact creating the unity government. Gaza's Hamas government officially stepped down in June, with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority setting up headquarters in Ramallah.

But Hamas has remained in control of Gaza, waging the recent 50-day war with Israel.

'Shadow government'

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will not accept a continued partnership with Hamas in Gaza where there is a "shadow government ... running the territory."

Hamas militants fired hundreds of rockets across the border into the Jewish state, while Israeli airstrikes inflicted massive damage on Gaza and killed more than 2,100 people, most of them civilians.

An open-ended cease-fire has taken hold and the warring sides are planning new negotiations in Cairo over contentious issues.

Israel is demanding that Hamas be disarmed, while the Palestinians are calling for Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and the opening of a harbor and an airport.

A Hamas spokesman called Abbas' statement "untrue, baseless and unfair to our people."

Cease-fire

Hamas militants fired hundreds of rockets across the border into the Jewish state, while Israeli airstrikes inflicted massive damage on Gaza and killed more than 2,100 people, most of them civilians.

An open-ended cease-fire has taken hold and the warring sides are planning new negotiations in Cairo over contentious issues. Israel is demanding that Hamas be disarmed, while the Palestinians are calling for Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and the opening of a harbor and an airport.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday he doubts the cease-fire will hold over the long term and that Hamas will continue to manufacture and smuggle arms into Gaza.

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