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Azzam al-Ahmad

Azzam al-Ahmad, former Minister of Public Works and Housing in the Palestinian Authority government and member of the PLO executive committee, told the official Voice of Palestine radio on Thursday that the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip must be undermined should Hamas implement the understandings signed in 2017 in Cairo. This was confirmed by the PLO’s Gaza Committee, according to Ma’an.

“The leadership is still waiting for Hamas to respond if it wants to implement the understandings that were signed or not, that is, either to assume full responsibility as a de facto authority or to hand over everything in Gaza,” al-Ahmad said.

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Al-Ahmad added that it was time to reject any talk of sanctions against the Gaza Strip, describing it as “fabrications,” and pointing out that there is no such thing as sanctions. There were, he conceded, some procedures related to government employees’ salaries in the Strip, and argued that the first to be affected by the delay was the Fatah movement in Gaza.

The member of the PLO Executive pointed out that “Some of the stark voices in the Palestinian arena say that there are sanctions on Gaza and this slogan is raised by those who are keen to continue the division in order to serve the pressures exerted on the Palestinian leadership.”

Al-Ahmad reiterated that there is no way to end the division between Ramallah and Gaza except through the dialogue that has continued for many years, noting that the two sides agreed to end the division through the Cairo agreement.

He explained that a number of understandings were agreed upon in Qatar, Cairo and Gaza on how to implement the reconciliation agreement, the latest of which was signed on October 12, 2017. He stressed the Fatah movement is in Cairo as a sole mediator and completely rejects the principle of inviting new mediators.

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