PA and Hamas accuse Israel and its collaborators of assassination attempt on Palestinian PM; Greenblatt: Attack demonstrates that Hamas is profoundly unfit to govern Gaza.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA intelligence official Majed Farraj survived an attempted assassination on Tuesday morning in the Gaza Strip, both Hamas and the PA claiming “Israel and its collaborators” as responsible for the attack.
The event occurred ahead of a scheduled meeting with Hamas officials for talks on a reconciliation agreement with the PA. Hamdallah was en route to attend the opening of a PA-funded water treatment plant in the Strip when there was an explosion and shots fired at his convoy, the prime minister and Farraj escaping the assassination attempt.
The Palestinian Authority initially accused Hamas, PA President Mahmoud Abbas claiming the “crime was planned and its targets and perpetrators are well-known,” referring to Hamas. He claimed the attack was “consistent with the attempts to avoid allowing the Palestinian [Authority] government to operate in Gaza, undermine reconciliation and destroy the national enterprise by separating Gaza from the West Bank in order to establish a questionable state in the Gaza Strip.”
Hours following, Hamdallah met with Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh, both leaders announcing that Hamas was not responsible for the incident, rather claiming “Israel and its collaborators” as responsible.
The incident occurred while 19 states attended a White House summit on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Palestinians boycotted the summit, both the PA and Hamas claiming the United States of using the crisis for its advantage.
President Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt responded to the attempted assassination on Hamdallah, stating “The Prime Minister was in Gaza to inaugurate a wastewater treatment plant that some of you, international donors, financed to improve the health of the people of Gaza. This attack, once again, demonstrates that Hamas is profoundly unfit to govern Gaza. But we cannot be deterred, and the Palestinian Authority should not be deterred. The PA has a legitimate role to play in Gaza, as does the international community.”
On the PA’s boycott of the summit, he stated “We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today. This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians.”
Photo: PA PM Hamdallah, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.