Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Goes Back to the Future; Issue Erupts before Transfer
Only two days before Hamas was to formally return administrative control of the Gaza Strip to Fatah/The Palestinian Authority from which it wrestled power in 2007, the two factions are fighting over an issue that is one of the reasons all prior attempts at reconciliation have failed. At issue is a call by PA Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah for civil servants loyal to Fatah who were replaced by Hamas followers when the Islamist group took control to now return to their previous positions. Between The 50,000 to 70,000 people who are affected have been receiving salaries for not working paid by the PA since 2007. Hamas employs about 40,000. Word from Gaza is that Hamas and their followers are livid and some believe the entire rapprochement is in jeopardy. The parties have until February to resolve the matter according to terms of the reconciliation agreement. Meanwhile, the issue of international recognition of the PA remains unsettled as Hamas steadfastly refuses to lay down its arms and disband its army of more than 25,000. Its presence in the Palestinian government should disqualify the PA from American and European Union funding because of the Hamas designations as terrorist entities.