In the wake of the March 13, 2018 attempt to assassinate Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj, there is severe tension between Fatah and Hamas. In a March 19 meeting of the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas accused Hamas of being behind the assassination, of inciting against the PA and of failing to implement the reconciliation, and even threatened to take measures against Hamas's illegal coup regime in Gaza.
Muwaffaq Matar (image: Wattan24.co)
In a similar vein, the following day Munir Al-Jaghoub, who heads the Information Department in Fatah's Recruitment and Organization Commission, said that Hamas must choose between Palestinian reconciliation and maintaining its illegal control of Gaza. If it chooses the latter, he said, the PA will label it a rebel organization and funding to it will be stopped. Underlining that it is impossible to accept a situation in which a particular region rebels against the legitimate rule (i.e. the PA), where the group ruling that region controls the populace by murdering and by terrorizing it, while continuing to demand funding from those against whom it rebelled, he added that rebellion has its price and only the rebels must pay.
Against this backdrop, Muwaffaq Matar, a columnist for the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, likewise lambasted Hamas, calling it to apologize for the coup against the PA, for all the atrocities it has committed against the people of Gaza, and for attempting to instill the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood in their minds. He urged the Gazans themselves to launch a civil disobedience campaign against Hamas in order to restore the legitimate PA rule in Gaza.
The following are translated excerpts of Muwaffaq Matar's column, published on March 20, 2018:
Hamas Must "Acknowledge Its Responsibility For The Tragedy And Horrors It Has Inflicted On Two Million Palestinians In Gaza"
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"There is no choice but [to conduct] popular activity against the coup regime and the division in the Gaza Strip, and [to impose] practical sanctions [against this regime]. The people [of Gaza] must adopt positions against the Hamas leaders and actualize [these positions]. There must be a civil rebellion that will continue until Hamas is forced to obey the will of the people and give the National Consensus Government the right to play its role in Gaza, as soon as possible, [and until Hamas is forces to] obey the rule of law and stop thinking that the Palestinian issue is its own trademark. Furthermore, Hamas must ask forgiveness from the people, and acknowledge its responsibility for the tragedy and horrors it has inflicted on two million Palestinians in Gaza. Likewise, it must commit to atoning for the sin of its coup, for the sins of disrespecting freedom and the national [Palestinian] culture, and for replacing it with the behaviors and concepts of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"More importantly, [Hamas must] acknowledge the crime of attempting to assassinate the national enterprise. It must expose those who incited to, assisted, and funded [this crime], and punish all those who infiltrated people's consciousness using so-called fatwas, ignited the flames of hostility and hatred among the various sectors of the people, and licensed the assassination of the national consciousness... They incited and are still inciting to murder against the backdrop of disputes and political stances. Their incitement to this kind of crime is planned, and they prepared religious arguments to justify it from the pulpits of the mosques, and have seen this as a way for the perpetrators to obtain the keys to Paradise."
The US Wants To Preserve The Palestinian Divisions In Order To Prevent The Establishment Of A Palestinian State
"The attempt to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and General Security chief Gen. Majed Faraj is not the first crime committed by the coup-perpetrating Hamas members, and will not be the last. Nor is it the worst, because what is worse is that Hamas treats what happened [i.e. the assassination attempt] as a deed by reckless children, as was expressed in the Hamas media and in the version of events that its leaders and spokesmen are marketing. The worst crime will happen soon, when the coup-perpetrating and division-fostering Hamas leaders discover that the U.S. has begun to open the gates to them, to form relations with them and to grant them... aid – [all this] in order to preserve the Palestinian division in which it is not possible to give to the Palestinian people sovereignty in the [Palestinian] state that the world already recognizes in its June 4, 1967 borders: in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, [which is] the eternal capital of Palestine, and the Gaza Strip.
"No patriotic Palestinian will consent to the shedding of a single drop of blood, and will never think to deepen the social schism or the hostility that the Hamas leaders, who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, are trying to plant in the [Palestinians'] soul. We know what the long-term dangers are, and we know very well how happy the leaders of the occupation will be when we reach this level of [internal] schism.
Accordingly, nonviolent civil disobedience [in Gaza against Hamas] is possible, and it can be carried out without causing the loss of a single life. All that is needed is to rally the individual and collective will behind this most supreme goal – the return of Gaza, with its land and people – including the public of Hamas members and supporters – to the homeland. Thus we will free them from [Hamas's] policy of misleading and incitement...
"All that is required of the Gaza residents is to adhere to the law and legitimacy, and must reject relations with any of [Hamas's] security, political, or economic elements. They must free themselves of fear, because there is no way to remove the injustice without a unified position of the public that corresponds to the decisions of the [legitimate] Palestinian leadership. [This leadership] will not disregard the plot to blow up the caravan [of the] legitimate [government, i.e. the PA] and blow up the reconciliation and the backbone of the national enterprise. We will punish the perpetrators, even much later on.
"What is happening is a dispute between the enterprise of the Palestinian national liberation movement and the enterprise of the [Muslim Brotherhood]."
 Maannews.net, March 21, 2018.