The Palestinian Authority issued a statement on Wednesday, marking the tenth anniversary of the terrorist group turned political party Hamas's military coup that led to its taking over the Gaza Strip from under the PA and Fatah party. In the statement, the PA struck out against Hamas, describing Hamas's rule over Gaza as "the second Nakba that struck our people."
The PA's statement continued by saying that Hamas has "turned the Gaza Strip into an intolerable hell."
The use of the phrase "Nakba" in a different context than that of Israel's War of Independence in 1948 is exceptional for any Arab organization, but particularly the PA.
Gaza's 2 million residents already get by with only four hours of electricity a day. In an effort to push his Hamas rivals out of power, Abbas says his West Bank government will stop paying Israel to provide electricity.
The PA statement comes as the humanitarian condition in Gaza continues to deteriorate and as PA President Mahmoud Abbas threatens to stop paying for Gaza's electricity, forcing Israel to either side with Hamas and provide Gaza electricity without payment or risk an outbreak of a greater humanitarian crisis.
"The municipalities controlled by Hamas in the Gaza Strip also burden the residents with the taxes they collect—taxes estimated at millions of dollars each month. This in addition to the suffering of the private sector and the construction, trade and industrial sectors as a result of these taxes," read the PA statement.
The PA also noted that Hamas has been looting the medical equipment and assistance transferred by the Palestinian Authority to hospitals in the Gaza Strip for use in private clinics belonging to the organization, which the civilian and military officials of the organization enjoy at the expense of the ordinary citizen in Gaza.
Abbas's attempt to "disengage" from Gaza began on the tenth anniversary of Hamas's takeover of the strip. His plan has included gradually stopping the services the Palestinian Authority transfers to the Gaza Strip, as well as cutting the salaries of PA officials in Gaza who have not worked since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip but nevertheless continued to receive salaries.
The PA also stopped the supply of diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip power plant two months ago due to Hamas's refusal to pay the excise tax on diesel fuel, and continued with the Palestinian Authority's announcement that it was ceasing to pay 125 megawatts per month to the Gaza Strip via 10 power lines. This is an average of NIS 40 million a month. Hamas collects electricity payment from Gaza's residents but does not transfer the money to the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas has in the past demanded that he receive control over the Gaza Strip in exchange for the services the PA provides its residents, a demand that Hamas has refused. Speaking to others in private, Abbas was reported to have said, "I am no longer willing to be the Hamas's ATM in Gaza without compensation. If they want (to be provided—ed) services—let me have control, and if they don't want that—let them manage on their own."