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memri
June 21, 2018 No.
1402

Campaign In West Bank Against Palestinian Authority's Sanctions On Gaza

By: S. Schneidmann*

Introduction

A campaign launched in the West Bank several weeks ago calls for lifting the sanctions that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has imposed on the Gaza Strip, which include the withholding of salaries from PA civil servants in Gaza and cutting the PA's payments to Israel for the electricity supplied to Gaza. The decision to impose the sanctions was taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas over a year ago, in April 2017, in response to Hamas's establishment of the Administrative Committee to manage Gaza's affairs on the grounds that the PA was not meeting its obligations in this respect.[1]

The sanctions constituted a significant shift in the PA's policy towards Gaza, and were aimed at pressuring Hamas to cede power in Gaza to the PA, or, alternatively, to provoke popular protests in Gaza against Hamas. Even following the 2007 Hamas coup in Gaza, the PA had continued transferring funds to Gaza, as well as paying the salaries of its civil servants there – even though after the coup the PA had asked them to stop working and boycott the Hamas authorities. However, as part of the sanctions, in addition to reducing PA payments for Gaza's electricity, the PA also halved the salaries of these employees – some of whom are Fatah members who support 'Abbas's rival Muhammad Dahlan – and forced thousands of them into retirement.[2]

The sanctions did prompt Hamas, on September 17, 2017, to dissolve the Administrative Committee and to announce the start of Egypt-brokered reconciliation talks with Fatah and the PA.[3] But since the impasse in the talks,[4] the PA has refrained from lifting the sanctions, and even stepped them up following the March 13, 2018  failed assassination attempt against PA Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah and General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj in Gaza.[5]

The PA gave various explanations and excuses for cutting the salaries of its employees in Gaza. At the close of a Palestinian National Council (PNC) meeting in early May 2018, 'Abbas stated that the payment of salaries had been delayed for "technical reasons," and said they would be paid shortly.[6] However, despite 'Abbas's promise, and on his orders, the PA Finance Ministry paid the employees only half their April salary.[7] Fatah and PLO officials protested against this, saying that the PA government was responsible and announcing that they would hold "urgent meetings" to resolve the problem.[8]

The financial hardship caused by the sanctions against PA employees in Gaza, some of whom are Fatah members, prompted protests within Fatah in the Gaza Strip, as well as the collective resignation of Fatah officials there and announcements by some Fatah branches in Gaza that they would suspend their activity until the sanctions were lifted.[9]

On May 31, 2018, the protests spread to the West Bank as well, with the launch of the "Lift the Sanctions" campaign calling for an end to the "collective punishment" of Gaza residents. The campaign held mass protests in Ramallah and Nablus against 'Abbas's policies, and announced that its activities would continue. The campaign's demands were echoed by Palestinian journalists who likewise came out against the PA sanctions.[10]

The protests in the West Bank sparked a media debate about the PA sanctions on Gaza. While articles in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida defended 'Abbas's moves and placed full responsibility for the situation in Gaza on Hamas, which they said was motivated by outside agendas, articles in other PA dailies, such as Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds, called for lifting the sanctions. They stated that these moves were ineffective and only cemented the separation between Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and the West Bank, ruled by the PA, and could thus lead to infringement on the PA's sovereignty in the Gaza Strip as part of the "Deal of the Century" being formulated by U.S. President Donald Trump.

This report reviews the activities of the Lift the Sanctions campaign in the West Bank, the responses to it in the PA, and the debate it sparked in the Palestinian media.

Lift The Sanctions Campaign Holds West Bank Protests Against The PA's Policy Towards Gaza

As stated, the protest against the PA sanctions against Gaza began in the Strip itself, and in the West Bank, in late May 2018, with the May 31 launch of the Lift the Sanctions campaign's Facebook page. The campaign's stated objective is to encourage demonstrations in the West Bank calling for "the complete lifting of the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian people in Gaza, immediately and without delay" and stressing that the Gazans must no longer be hostages in the conflict between Fatah and Hamas.

The first post on the Facebook page called the sanctions "partners in the enemy's siege on Gaza and in the repression of [the Gazans'] resistance," and "a dagger to the heart of our shared [Palestinian] cause and the unity of our people."[11] It is not clear who is behind the campaign, which bills itself as "popular and independent,"[12] but it is clearly supported by Hamas, and by leftist movements such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and by civil society organizations and oppositionists to 'Abbas.[13] 


Facebook page of the Lift the Sanctions campaign: "The sanctions on Gaza are a crime" (Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, May 31, 2018)

On June 10, a mass protest was held at Ramallah's Al-Manara Square. The protesters chanted calls against 'Abbas, and held up signs rejecting the PA's excuses for its nonpayment of salaries, and emphasizing the Gazan victims of the March of Return events at the Israel-Gaza border. It was reported that the PA security apparatuses had been instructed not to interfere with the demonstration, but Fatah activists confronted the demonstrators and hung up banners with anti-Hamas messages, such as "The [2007] Hamas coup is the reason for all the disasters [in Gaza]," and "During the years since [the 2007] coup, the PA has invested $17 billion in the Gaza Strip."[14]

Fatah sign at Al-Manara Square: "The [2007] Hamas coup is the reason for all the disasters [in Gaza]" (Source: Quds.ps. June 11, 2018)

To view the MEMRI TV clip of the demonstrations, click here or below.

PA Tries To Prevent Demonstrations, Calling Them A Plot To Clear Israel, Hamas Of Responsibility For Gaza Situation

Following the June 10 Ramallah protest, 'Abbas's associates harshly criticized the campaign, its activists and its objectives. Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmeh wrote on his Facebook account: "Who is punishing Gaza? Is it those who rule it and reject national unity [i.e. Hamas], or those who promote national unity [i.e. Fatah, headed by 'Abbas]?... Nobody can think that President ['Abbas] or anyone [else] in Fatah is happy about punishing anyone in Gaza, or is [even] thinking [of punishing anyone]."[15]

Likewise, the PA government condemned the campaign's "slander" and "attempted deception," and blamed the situation in Gaza on Israel's siege and on Hamas, saying that the latter had hijacked Gaza's resources for its own ends instead of using them for the benefit of Gaza's citizens. The government clarified that the measures it has taken are not "sanctions" but only "temporary [salary] cuts" due to the decline in foreign aid to the PA. The announcement also set out the investment made by the PA government in Gaza throughout the 11 years of Hamas rule there, and added that it had provided salaries, benefits, and budgets for ministries and infrastructure development.[16]

In light of the success of the June 10 protest, and the campaign's impact on Palestinian public opinion, the campaign announced on its Facebook page that there would be additional protests in Ramallah and Nablus on June 13.[17] In an attempt by the PA to stop these protests, on the morning of June 13 an order was issued by "the president's ['Abbas's] advisor for district affairs" banning "the issuance of permits for demonstrations or gatherings that may disturb and disrupt the movements of the residents and interfere with normal routine during the ['Eid Al-Fitr] festival."[18]

Also ahead of the Nablus demonstration, the Nablus Fatah branch held a large pro-'Abbas rally. At the rally, Nablus District Governor Akram Al-Rajoub said: "The city of Nablus is voicing [the message] of the free, not that of the mercenaries... We all support our people in Gaza, but we do not support the few hundred [Hamas members] who became millionaires [in Gaza] and who have murdered Fatah members and [PA] security personnel in the streets..."[19]

Despite the attempts to stop them, the demonstrations in Ramallah and Nablus ultimately did take place, but were forcibly broken up with tear gas and stun grenades by PA security personnel, some of them in plainclothes. According to reports in the Arab and Palestinian media, this use of force resulted in many injuries, and dozens of protesters were arrested.[20]

PA security personnel forcibly disperse the June 13 demonstrations (Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 14, 2018)

The dispersal of the demonstrations, the PA's conduct in the matter, and the statements about it by PA and Fatah officials drew fire from various Palestinian factions and from civil society organizations. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned attacks on journalists that occurred during the dispersal of the demonstrations, and said it would file complaints against the commanders who had ordered them, and that it would boycott the PA government and its security apparatuses until further notice.[21] Criticism was voiced even by PLO Executive Committee member Hanan 'Ashrawi, who called the security apparatuses' actions "a flagrant violation of the right to free speech and peaceful assembly" that, she said, are enshrined in Palestinian law.[22]

The Lift the Sanctions campaign called for yet another demonstration in Ramallah on June 23, and for support rallies abroad, including in Amman, Beirut, New York, London, and Amsterdam.[23] 

PA Mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: The Accusations Against 'Abbas Are Slanderous; Hamas Is Responsible For The Tragedy In Gaza

The West Bank demonstrations calling for lifting the sanctions sparked a debate in the PA press. Following Fatah's and the PA's responses to the campaign, columnists in the PA mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reiterated that Hamas and its collaborators were pulling the strings of the campaign and that it was Hamas, not the PA and its head 'Abbas, who was to blame the Gazans' plight. Columnist 'Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul wrote: "The demonstration Sunday evening [June 10, 2018] in Al-Manara Square... that was initiated by several NGOs was exploited by some left-wing elements, and [also,] behind the scenes, by representatives of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and others. In principle, the demonstration was legal... This was reflected in the security forces' and decision-makers' tolerant handling of the demonstration. Nobody stopped the demonstrators from voicing their position with respect to their fellow Palestinians in the southern regions [i.e. in the Gaza Strip]. They demanded that civil servants in Gaza be paid their salaries in full, just like their colleagues in the [West] Bank. However, some elements that were paid to infiltrate [the ranks of the protestors] chanted political slogans against the PA and its legitimate president Abu Mazen [i.e. 'Abbas] and accused him of actions with which he is unconnected...

"At the same time, these foolish mercenaries tried to exonerate the leadership of the Hamas coup of its crimes and of the disasters and troubles it has brought upon the Palestinian people in general and the residents of Gaza in particular. [This is] especially [puzzling in light of the fact] that some of the forces that participated [in the demonstration] have for 11 years kept their heads down, out of fear and impotence, in the face of the violence on the part of the Hamas [leadership that] carried out the coup. When, on a few occasions, they tried to protest against Hamas's violations in Gaza, Khan Younis, Jabalia, Rafah and central [Gaza], their fate was to [be beaten with] heavy clubs and to be persecuted. Some were thrown in jail and some even received death threats...

"The PLO leadership is the legitimate leadership that received a mandate from the people, and it is disgraceful to liken it to the coup-perpetrating Hamas movement, because the popular leadership that has borne the flag of the national cause for the last 55 years, and the Hamas gang that has abandoned the true Islam and usurped the Gaza Strip from the legitimate [leadership], are as different as night and day. Considering them similar is unacceptable, and it is wrong, for whatever reason, to detract from the high status of the legitimate [leadership] in order to sell rotting merchandise [i.e., Hamas]."[24]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Muwaffaq Matar wrote: "The Hamas movement officials, who are organizationally affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and with the plans and agendas of foreign [elements] that serve [certain] countries in the region, are directly responsible for what has happened and is still happening to two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and to the Palestinian people [throughout] the homeland as well as in the diaspora...

"President Abu Mazen consistently proclaims his patriotic ideology and his political position on our national issues. For example, in the very first sentence of his speech at the 23rd session of the [Palestinian] National Council, [held at] the Ahmad Al-Shukeiri Hall in Ramallah, he stressed that 'there is no peace without Jerusalem, there is no state without Gaza, and there [can] be no state [that is restricted to] Gaza [alone].' Therefore, I believe that the attempt to blame Abu Mazen for the consequences of Hamas's mistakes and criminal coup reflects narrow political objectives that have nothing to do with the demand to [respect] the rights of Gaza's civil servants...

"Additionally, we must draw the Palestinian public's attention to the cause of the tragedy of the civilians in Gaza, and to ask the coup-perpetrating Hamas officials, clearly and distinctly, to lift the sanctions imposed on the patriotic [i.e. Fatah-supporting] Palestinians in Gaza, for they are a central and important factor in leveraging the Palestinian national plan. Everyone must understand that the Hamas coup was a crime against the homeland and against the principles of our national ideology – because Hamas is punishing Palestinians in Gaza for espousing the national spirit and the progressive idea of national liberation. Lifting the sanctions [that are due to Hamas's actions] in Gaza requires that [Hamas] first of all end the coup and the plan of division, apologize to the Palestinian people, and engage in national reconciliation after  purging [itself] of the criminal loyalty to and affiliation with [forces] other than our homeland, Palestine." [25]  

Palestinian Press Criticizes The PA: The Sanctions Harm Fatah, Not Hamas

The West Bank demonstrations and the Lift the Sanctions campaign were naturally embraced by 'Abbas's opponents, chiefly Hamas and Dahlan's camp, as well as by other Palestinian factions. However, other Palestinian elements in the West Bank also supported them, along with columnists in the Palestinian Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds dailies, which are not affiliated with the PA. These columnists criticized the PA, saying that its sanctions were ineffective and harmed the people of Gaza, including Fatah members, instead of Hamas. They also rejected the PA's excuses for not paying its employees, saying that this only cements the schism between the West Bank and Gaza – which in turn can advance U.S. President Donald Trump's Deal of the Century.

The PA's Excuses For The Sanctions Are Illogical And Unacceptable; It Is Fatah Members Who Are Being Harmed

Al-Ayyam columnist Talal 'Awkal called on the PA to pay the salaries of its Gaza employees, because, he said, the sanctions are not pressuring Hamas but only harming Fatah, of which many of the employees are members. He wrote: "There was talk of pressuring Hamas in order to force it to accept the position of the PA and of Fatah regarding the [inter-Palestinian] reconciliation, or in order to cause the Gazan public to oppose Hamas  and [thereby] exert pressure on it. That is how many understood it.

"But after 15 months, the outcome shows that Hamas was the least affected by these measures, that it can adapt to them, and that it has maintained its position regarding the reconciliation. Moreover, Hamas has managed to overcome these measures and their consequences by intensifying the nonviolent conflict [with Israel] in the Gaza Strip, in a general national context – a move that has [even] brought Hamas several advantages....

"The direct and greatest damage was, and is, sustained by Fatah, given that the overwhelming majority of the civil servants are Fatah members, and given that this has deepened and continues to deepen the social disasters and crises afflicting the [Gaza] Strip residents...

"The [Fatah] movement spokesmen and officials discussed the need to roll back these measures and [reiterated] the movement's commitment to the rights of its employees [in Gaza] and of the people [there] – permanent rights that must not be toyed with as long as they are anchored in the law.

"What is saddening is that excuses are being made that are illogical, unacceptable, and incoherent – for instance, that the whole thing [i.e. the withholding of the salaries] stems from a technical problem or from a shortage of PA funds, or that it is the [PA] government [not 'Abbas himself] that is to blame and that it should be bound by Mahmoud 'Abbas's decision at the [Palestinian] National Council session. Excuses of this sort appear to be [attempts] to deceive the public – [but the public] knows the truth, and the truth is that the government is not independent and has no legislative powers of this sort. It is ultimately the government of President 'Abbas, and cannot circumvent his decisions."[26]

The Sanctions Deepen The Rift Between Gaza And The West Bank – Which In Turn Can Help Advance The Deal Of The Century

In another Al-Ayyam article, Muhannad 'Abd Al-Hamid wrote that the PLO is in charge of handling the situation in Gaza, and that blaming Hamas and neglecting the humanitarian crisis there will only help cement Hamas's control in Gaza as part of President Trump's Deal of the Century: "The organization [i.e. the PLO] has not formulated an emergency rescue plan to save the people of Gaza from their plight or even alleviate their suffering, and the political and media discourse is largely ignoring the financial and electricity crisis [in Gaza]...

"Even if the Hamas authorities are to blame for the crisis due to their statements and actions... note that the [purpose of] the decision [to impose these sanctions] is rather unclear, since if they are aimed against Hamas, why did the PLO agree to cause harm to many citizens as part of this? Are [we] allowed to cause more suffering, in addition to the tremendous suffering already caused by the occupation and the Hamas regime? The [Palestinian] National Council decided to end the [harmful] measures, but this [decision] was not implemented...

"The criticism leveled at the PLO, and the claim that it is responsible for resolving the crisis and alleviating [the suffering] of the citizens, are based on its essence as the representative [of the Palestinian people], and on its historical responsibility. This criticism is not meant to clear Hamas of responsibility – because Hamas creates crisis after crisis, and the citizens' suffering appears to not concern it very much. [For Hamas, it seems that] ensuring its own existence takes precedence to everything else.

"Establishing a Palestinian entity in Gaza separate from the West Bank is one of the stages in Trump's Deal [of the Century], which is simmering on the fire of the Israeli attacks. Israeli [elements] are saying that Israel seeks to turn Gaza into a separate, Hamas[-led] Palestinian entity. Some Hamas leaders and advisors are hinting that the movement is willing to cooperate with the American plan in order to resolve the humanitarian issue, ensure security, and prevent an explosion. [This is to be achieved by means of] a long-term hudna [truce] in return for an end to the chokehold [on Gaza] and the humanitarian crisis afflicting the citizens, and [in return for] bringing the Palestinian cause back to square one. So Hamas being part of the Deal of the Century is not an imaginary threat, and action to resolve the citizens' crisis and to reunite [the Palestinian forces] – as part of the opposition to and rejection of the Deal of the Century – has become especially important."[27]

Journalist Who Is Participating In The Campaign: Lifting The Sanctions Will Promote Reconciliation, Struggle Against Occupation

Journalist Hani Al-Masri, who played an active role in the protest campaign and participated in the demonstrations, rejected Fatah's criticism of the campaign as well as the PA government's claims about why it withheld the civil servants' pay. He wrote in the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds daily: "The protest reflects the will of the majority of Palestinians. That is, all elements, sectors, institutions, and figures have voiced their opposition to the sanctions [on Gaza] in every way, to the extent that at its last meeting, the PNC – which in principle represents the sectors that make up the PLO and especially Fatah – demanded, by a large majority, to end the sanctions on Gaza. At the closing of the meeting, President ['Abbas] announced that he would pay the employees' salaries the very next day, since he could not conceivably punish his own people...

"In response, we can say very simply that the government belongs to the president, since it is he who tasked the prime minister with forming it and he who approved it. Because there is no [functional Legislative] Council,[28] [the government] was never presented to it to receive its confidence, which would have granted it authority and independence. Since this never happened, the responsibility rests with the president. Upon seeing that his government was failing to implement his directives, he should have dismissed it. If he thought that its justifications [for the sanctions on Hamas] reflected his policy, he and his spokesmen, and the spokesmen of the PA, should have defended and justified [the sanctions as well]. But evading responsibility and [engaging in] mutual recriminations [with the government]... [is a method that] no longer fools anyone.

"If the withholding of the salaries stems from technical problems or a lack of funds or any other reason [of this kind], why wasn't the deduction divided equally among all the employees [including those in the West Bank]? Why didn't they cut expenses and transfer [funds] from other budget items? Receiving wages is a sacred right that must [only] be violated only if there is no other choice, and on an equal basis [that does not discriminate] between employees. The question that suggests itself is this: Does the PA budget for the current year not include the expenses in Gaza? When it was declared, the prime minister said that it includes a supplement that takes into account [the need to] meet expenses in case unity is achieved. So how can there be a deficit so big that it requires withholding the salaries of the PA employees in Gaza, even though the government has not been saddled with any new burden, such as [paying] the salaries of the civil servants nominated by Hamas? Is the PA in charge of the [West] Bank only?...

"The sanctions [on Gaza] are a misguided attempt [to implement] the 'hijacked plane' theory, which we heard about [when the PA explained that] the goal [of the sanctions] was to save Gaza from those who had hijacked it [i.e. Hamas],[29] even at the cost of harming some of the passengers. The proponents of this theory forget that the 'hostages' are two million Palestinians that have been paying this price for 11 years, and the PA measures exacerbate the situation.

"The goal, they say, is to pressure the acting government in Gaza, headed by Hamas, into ceding power to the PA across the Gaza Strip, or face a popular revolution against it. This is in order to end the schism and thwart the plot to separate Gaza from the [West] Bank, and thwart Trump's deal...

"In order to continue the campaign [for lifting the sanctions] and achieve its goal... the slogans and activities [for this campaign] must focus on this goal [alone], and stay away from accusations of treason and heresy, and from exclusion and incitement, so as to avoid sinking into internal conflicts that will distance us from the main conflict – [that is,] with the occupation.  [Our] struggle is not with the PA or with the president, despite the urgent need to change the policy and replace PA officials. After all, the Palestinians – with very few exceptions and despite the wide differences in ideology, interests and loyalties – are all in the same boat, suffering the hostile American and Zionist measures, chief of them the Trump deal... This does not mean that we must suspend the resistance to the occupation, for [the resistance] never stops, as evident from the daily resistance activities in the [West] Bank and in various Palestinian population centers, the March of Return, [the protests against] the Trump deal, and the activity to end the schism and ultimately lift the sanctions...

"There can and must be several simultaneous courses of action, knowing that the lifting of the sanctions will create the most suitable atmosphere for ending the schism and restoring unity on a national and democratic basis... This will [enable] the most efficient and effective struggle against the occupation and its goals, and end Hamas's exclusive control of Gaza, [as well as] the hegemony of Fatah and [its] power centers over the PA and the PLO. It will concentrate [all] the weapons of the resistance under one national 'umbrella,' and under the control of a united national leadership, guided by a new strategy that can win."[30] 

*S. Schneidmann is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.     

 


[1] Maannews.net, March 23, 2017. Fatah announced that it regarded this move as an indication of Hamas's intention to separate Gaza from the West Bank.  Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), March 22, 2017.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), April 5, 2017; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 28, 2017; Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), August 10, 2017.

[3] Hamas.ps, September 17, 2017.

[4] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1361, Palestinian Reconciliation At An Impasse, December 1, 2017.

[5] 'Abbas held Hamas responsible for the assassination attempt and announced that "national, legal and economic measures" would be taken against it (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA, March 20, 2018).

[6] Al-Ayyam (PA), amad.ps, May 4, 2018.

[7] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), May 6, 2018, maannews.net, May 7, 2018.

[8] The Fatah members who either opposed the issue outright or announced that they would press the issue with the government were Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki (qudsnet.com, April 15, 2018; samanews.ps, June 9, 2018), Ahmad Hilas (palinfo.com, May 8, 2018), PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat (Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, London, May 24, 2018) and Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aloul (amad.ps, April 26, 2018; alwatanvoice.com. June 7, 2018).

[9] Al-Hayat (Dubai), June 11, 2018.

[10] Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, May 31, 2018.

[11] Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 1, 2018.

[12] Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 12, 2018.

[13] The language used by the campaign is similar to that of the BDS movement, which has likewise called the sanctions unjust and urged West Bank Palestinians to protests against them (bdsmovement.net/ar/Gaza-Punishments, June 10, 2018).  

[14] Quds.ps June 10, 2018; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), June 12, 2018.

[15] The post, which has since been deleted from Al-Qawasmeh's Facebook account , was quoted by the Sawa news agency (Palwasa.com, June 12, 2018).

[16] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 12, 2018.

[17] Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 12, 2018.

[18] Wafa.ps. June 13, 2018.

[19] Wafa.ps, June 14, 2018.

[20] Alwatanvoice.com, June 13, 2018; Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 14, 2018.

[21] Maannews.net, June 14, 2018.

[22] Maannews.net, June 14, 2018.

[23] Facebook.com/LiftTheSanctions, June 16, 17, 2018.

[24] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 12, 2018.

[25] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 12, 2018.

[26] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 11, 2018.

[27] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 12, 2018.

[28] For more on the constitutional crisis in the PA between the council and the presidency, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1401, Calls In Palestinian Authority For Arranging Mechanism For Transfer Of Power Following Palestinian Authority President 'Abbas's Hospitalization, June 11, 2018.

[29] An allusion to statements by Fatah Central Committee member 'Azzam Al-Ahmad, who likened Gaza to a plane that had been hijacked by Hamas (pssawa.com, December 1, 2017).

[30] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 12, 2018.