World Bulletin/News Desk
Palestinian faction Hamas on Monday accused Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas of refusing to make any moves towards reaching an understanding regarding the blockaded Gaza Strip's border crossings.
"Abbas is rejecting any step towards reaching an understanding over [reopening] the Gaza crossings and is derailing efforts to expedite reconstruction of the Gaza Strip," senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said in a statement.
"The Gaza Strip's crossings work in coordination with the PA and Israel; it's not only the responsibility of Hamas," Abu Marzouq said.
"We're open to reaching an understanding with the PA regarding the crossings and facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza," Marzouq added. "But President Abbas is hindering all attempts to reach one."
In a speech delivered Sunday, Abbas blamed Hamas for "slowing down" reconstruction of the war-battered coastal enclave, citing the PA's lack of control over the strip and its border crossings.
Blockaded by Israel – by air, land and sea – since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
Six of these crossings are controlled by Israel, while a seventh – the Rafah crossing – is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.
Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in June 2007 after Hamas wrested control of the territory from Abbas' Ramallah-based PA.
As it currently stands, Israeli authorities allow the Kerem Shalom crossing – which links Gaza to both Israel and Egypt – to operate for strictly commercial purposes.
An August 26 cease-fire deal between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza also called for reopening the strip's border crossings – a term which, if implemented, would effectively end the self-proclaimed Jewish state's seven-year blockade of the territory.
Last Mod: 15 Aralık 2014, 13:17