Further deepening the division between Hamas and Fatah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's latest move to dissolve the Hamas-led parliament is receiving growing criticism from Palestinian factions. Abbas said Saturday he intended to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council after a court decision that ordered the move and elections to be held within six months.
The Palestinian Constitutional Court in Ramallah made the ruling, and Hamas said in a statement it rejected the decision by a court created by Abbas "to legitimize his arbitrary decisions."
"Abbas should have extended his hands to [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniya's invitation to hold a joint meeting, thereby ending the Palestinian division," the statement said. "Rather, Abbas opted to ruin the Palestinian political system, maintain his unilateralism and dissolve the legal institutions of the Palestinian people. All of this is just to serve his partisan interests." It called on Egypt, which has been seeking to reconcile Hamas and Abbas's Fatah, to block the measure. Hamas and Fatah are at odds on several issues but were close to a deal of reconciliation and reunification. According to this internal deal, Hamas was going to hand over control of Gaza, resulting in Fatah halting embargoes, such as electricity cuts or paying officials' salaries. However, Abbas has sought to pressure Hamas in recent months by reducing salaries in the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli blockade, among other moves.