Abbas says will break unity agreement with Hamas if PA can not act in Gaza

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would break his government’s unity agreement with the Islamist Hamas if it does not allow the unity government to operate in Gaza.

“We will not accept the situation with Hamas continuing as it is at the moment,” Abbas said late Saturday night in Cairo, where he is scheduled to address the Arab League.

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“We won’t accept a partnership with them if the situation continues like this in Gaza where there is a shadow government running the territory,” he said, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

“If Hamas won’t accept a Palestinian State with one government, one law, and one weapon – then there won’t be any partnership between us,” said Abbas. “This is our condition, and we won’t back away from it.”

Abbas told reporters in Cairo that the Palestinian leadership is making every effort to help the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and is working to provide all forms of assistance.

He announced that there are some 461,643 displaced people in Gaza with at least 280,000 of them in United Nations shelters and schools.

He also said some 18,000 homes were completely destroyed, and 41,000 homes partially destroyed, and that 145 schools were damaged, with 75 totally destroyed. Dozens of public buildings, including schools and mosques, also were destroyed.

Abbas estimated that it will take $7 billion to rebuild what was destroyed in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, and that it will take at least 15 years.