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The New Arab

Abbas aide: Hamas 'sensationalising deaths of Palestinians'

Israel has attacked thousands of peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 April, 2018

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A key aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Hamas of sensationalising the deaths of Palestinians, bringing the Gaza massacre into the dispute between the two political parties.
A senior cleric has accused Hamas of sensationalising the deaths of Palestinians, bringing the Gaza massacre into the dispute between the two political paries.

Mahmoud al-Habbash, an adviser on religious affairs to the Palestinian presidency, slammed Hamas over the peaceful Great Return March which began two weeks ago.

"The Palestinian people do not care for the selling of illusions and emotional triggers," al-Habbash said in a Friday sermon.

He claimed Hamas was "selling illusions", and "trading in suffering and blood, trading in victims" for sensationalist purposes.

The Great Return March turned violent when Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border, despite protesters being unarmed and visibly peaceful.

"[Hamas'] acts of 'heroism' don't fool anyone anymore," Habbash added, claiming the Palestine Liberation Organisation monopolised Palestinian public support as an avenue of resistance.

Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since routing Fatah from the territory in internecine fighting which followed Hamas' victory in municipality elections.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that unless he gets full control over the Gaza Strip, including the Hamas' weapons, he will "not be responsible for what goes on" there, as the siege of nearly two million Palestinians continues in the coastal enclave.

Israel has kept the Strip under a blockade for more than a decade, while Gaza's border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Beyond that, Abbas issued a series of punitive measures against the Gaza Strip last year to pressure Hamas, including cutting electricity payments, further worsening an already severe power crisis.

Faced with deteriorating conditions, Hamas turned to Egypt for help and in turn came under pressure to reconcile with Abbas' Fatah movement.

A deal was signed on October 12 in Cairo setting out parameters for reconciliation.

The first major deadline was kept, with Hamas handing over control of the Gaza Strip's borders to the Palestinian Authority on November 1, but Hamas has yet to hand full power to the Ramallah government.

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