Three months after Hamas’ electoral victory, the divisions between Mahmoud Abbas and the government of Ismail Haniyeh are becoming more pronounced.
Despite international pressure, the president accepted the decision made by the Palestinian people in January to reject his Fatah party for Hamas.
But last week this acceptance was looking questionable. Abbas used his right to veto the choice of Jamal Abu Samhadana, a former militia leader, as head of security enforcement in the Gaza Strip.
Before this Abbas had seemed to want to calm the growing international distrust with Hamas. But his move has been interpreted as an attempt to keep control of Gaza’s security in the hands of Fatah.
In Damascus the leader of Hamas in exile, Khaled Meschal, has accused Abbas of launching a campaign to isolate and overturn the Hamas government, with the support of the international community.
A little later he softened his stance slightly, saying Hamas and Fatah had worked together during the intifada against Israel and should continue to do so politically.
But his tone was at odds with what is happening in Gaza where on Saturday student members of Fatah and Hamas clashed by the university, leaving 40 people injured.
On Sunday gunmen raided the office of the Minister of Health in Gaza, wounding three people
The previous day he had announced hefty budget cuts including no more money for people to travel abroad for treatment following the European Union and United States’ decision to stop financial aid.
It is feared that the isolation imposed by the West could risk prolonging the divisions within the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas is virtually the only person the West is prepared to do business with but his position towards Israel is at odds with that of several armed movements.
A day after last week’s bombing in Tel Aviv, four groups condemned Abbas’ condemnation of the attack, saying they had the right to defend themselves.