Jun 15, 2007

Abbas sacks Hamas-led government

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed the Hamas-led coalition government and declared a state of emergency.

Aides to Mr Abbas said the president would call elections as soon as possible in an effort to end fighting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza.

A Hamas spokesman immediately dismissed the president's decision.

Hamas fighters have overrun much of Gaza, capturing key security buildings and hailing Gaza's "liberation".

More than 100 people have died during a week of violent battles on the streets of Gaza.

Mr Abbas will now rule by presidential decree.

Aides to Mr Abbas said he dismissed the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, and was preparing to appoint an independent as prime minister.

The BBC's Matthew Price in Jerusalem says that once the decree is signed, the West Bank and Gaza Strip will effectively be split from one another - Gaza run by Hamas and the West Bank by Fatah.


An aide to Mr Abbas, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, announced the president's decision in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

In practical terms these decisions are worthless
Sami Abu Zuhri
Hamas spokesman

Rivals: Fatah and Hamas
Q&A: Gaza chaos
"I [Abbas] have issued the following decree: the sacking of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

"Second, the proclamation of the state of emergency in all the Palestinian territories because of the criminal war in the Gaza Strip, the taking over of the security services of the Palestinian Authority, the military coup and the armed rebellion by outlaws."

Mr Abbas was determined to "go back to the people" to hold elections as soon as the situation was calm and allowed arrangements to be made, Mr Rahim added.

He was also open to the idea of an international peacekeeping force being deployed in the region, his aide said.

But Hamas swiftly rejected Mr Abbas' decision.

"In practical terms these decisions are worthless," said spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

"Prime Minister Haniya remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president," he told Reuters news agency.

Hamas won a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in early 2006, but has since been engaged in a violent power struggle with Mr Abbas' Fatah faction.

Hamas 'takeover'

Earlier, Hamas fighters swept through the Gaza Strip, winning control of key Fatah power bases in pitched gunbattles.

Fatah's Preventative Security building and the intelligence service headquarters in Gaza City fell to Hamas.

Hamas gunmen also overran the town of Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border.

At least 20 Palestinians died throughout Gaza in the course of the day.

Hamas, an Islamic organisation, rose to prominence in Gaza during two Palestinian uprisings, and refuses to recognise or negotiate with Israel.

Fatah, a secular political grouping headed by Mr Abbas, ran the Palestinian Authority until 2006 and officially recognises the Jewish state.

The two groups were nominally working together in a three-month-old government of national unity.

From: BBC

No comments:

Post a Comment