Middle East Monitor / February 3, 2021
The Palestinian Authority must lift the sanctions it has imposed on the Gaza Strip in order to provide the enclave an equal standing in the upcoming elections, a senior Hamas official said today.
Speaking at a press conference, member of the movement’s political bureau, Khalil al-Hayya, called on the PA to lift the sanctions it imposed on the Gaza Strip in 2017, including the suspension of salaries of thousands of former civil servants and stipends of families of Palestinians injured or killed during Israeli attacks.
The PA had taken the measures in an effort to force Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip. “It’s time to lift the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip,” Al-Hayya said. “This is a popular demand. It’s time to end the sanctions. We call on our brothers in the Palestinian Authority and Fatah to end the sanctions.”
The official went on to call for “consensus on reasonable grounds” between the political parties, “and we must start from a political basis in defining the enemy and how to deal with it.” “If we agree on the minimum level of the political program, it will open the door wide for a greater consensus, and the ground must be ready for the formation of lists and for the factions to enter the elections.”
He explained that Hamas is working on a number of scenarios, and the form of its participation in the upcoming elections depends on what is agreed in the Cairo talks due to be held next week.
He also warned Israel against “tampering” with the elections by banning or arresting candidates. “Our people can’t go to vote while their hands are tied,” Al-Hayya warned. “Israel should not be allowed to determine who will run in our elections.”
Mohammed Asad is MEMO’s correspondent based in Gaza