Seeking to increase pressure on Hamas to transfer control over the Gaza Strip to him, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told members of Israel’s Meretz Party that if Hamas doesn’t comply, he intends to cut all funding to the besieged strip.
Abbas said he’d already cut some 25% from the annual $1.5 billion in Gaza spending, and that he is prepared to “gradually” increase that amount in the future. He added that he was totally willing to go up to a 100% cut, defunding the strip outright.
Abbas tried to make bigger cuts earlier this year, aiming to shut down all electricity in Gaza, but was prevented from doing so by Israel. Israeli officials have expressed concern that Abbas’ attempts to pressure Hamas with cuts could fuel unrest, ultimately leading to spillover violence between Gaza and Israel.
Since Israel has some humanitarian obligations in the Gaza Strip, owing to the ongoing occupation of the territory and blockade of the strip, there are likely limits to how much pressure Abbas can really put on Gaza.
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