Abbas, Hamas dispute over crossing control as China has no plans to host Palestinian FM
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday assumed security control over the Gaza Strip's border crossing. Hamas, which controls the new cabinet decried the move as a violation of power-sharing agreements.
According to news agencies, Hamas had asked Abbas to transfer control of the crossing, which so far had been under the jurisdiction of PA security, to the new Palestinian government.
Officials close to Abbas disclosed he had faced pressure from the European Union, which threatened to withdraw its monitors from the Rafah crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt in response to Hamas' political rise. "Administration of the crossing points and borders will fall directly under the jurisdiction of the president," said a statement from Abbas' office. "It is an independent administration in terms of finance, commerce and in security."
On his part, cabinet spokesman Ghazi Hamad said "Any attempt to reduce the authorities of the government will harm its performance and its ability to carry out its duties."
In another setback to the Hamas-led cabinet, China announced it has not made any plans yet to receive Palestinian foreign minister Dr. Mahmud al-Zahar, just two days after the latter declared he would visit Beijing.
"As for the issue of foreign minister al-Zahar leading a Hamas delegation to China, as far as we know, China at the present stage does not have such a plan yet," the Chinese foreign ministry conveyed to the AFP.
Meanwhile, Israel is continuing its raids in the West Bank. Late Wednesday and early Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested 13 Palestinians across the West Bank.