Monday, February 25

Hamas accuses Abbas of playing role in Gaza closure

Wang Hongjiang

Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday accused Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas of having a role in Israeli blockade
on Gaza Strip, urging him to stop "extorting the people."

Fawzi Barhoom, a spokesman for Hamas, referred to
his movement's efforts to reopen Rafah crossing point
that connects the Hamas-ruled Gaza and Egypt, adding
that Abbas met with the Egyptian President and told
him that Rafah will not be opened away from
a previous international deal.

"This was a direct and clear response by Abu Mazen
(Abbas) that he will not allow the reopening of the
crossing as a pure Egyptian-Palestinian one" as
Hamas demands, Barhoom added.

Before last June, the month when Hamas ousted
pro-Abbas forces and took over the strip by force,
Rafah crossing was running under a U.S.-brokered
protocol stipulated that European Union monitors
and Abbas' presidential guards
assumed security at the terminal.

Hamas wants to get rid of the international deal and
make the crossing Palestinian-Egyptian passageway
without any third party. "The ball now is at Abbas'
court; he has to stop extorting GazaStrip and starving
its people for the sake of Israel," Barhoom said.

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