PA controls just 5% of Gaza, senior Abbas minister says

Palestinians argue with Hamas officials and security forces in a makeshift station in a basketball court in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip on November 18, 2017 as they await clearance to take a bus to travel through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, after it opened for three days for the first time since the Palestinian reconciliation deal. (AFP PHOTO / Mahmud Hams)
Hussein al-Sheikh: Hamas dragging its feet in handover of enclave to Palestinian Authority

By Dov Lieber | The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh on Sunday said the PA government had assumed control of just five percent of the Gaza Strip, ahead of a looming December 1 deadline for the PA to take full control of the enclave as part of the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.

Fatah, which controls the PA, signed a deal with Hamas in Cairo last month that would see the terror group’s 10-year rule in the Gaza Strip come to a close by the end of November.

Sheikh, however, accused Hamas of dragging its feet in implementing the accord.

“The [PA] government until this moment, financially, administratively and security-wise, has not been set up [in Gaza] more than five percent,” Sheikh told the official PA newscast.

He said Hamas has not permitted PA ministers to take control of their old offices in Gaza and thousands of former government employees who worked in Gaza ministries before Hamas’s takeover of the enclave in 2007 have not returned to work.

The Palestinian minister also said the PA has not been able to set up an effective tax collection system, adding, that the Ramallah is “collecting crumbs” at the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel.

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