Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking in Cairo, Abbas accused Hamas of running a shadow government and said he wanted a single authority and a single system of rule.
His remarks came on the eve of a key address he is due to deliver to the Arab League, nearly two weeks after a ceasefire ended a deadly 50-day confrontation with Israel in Gaza.
“We will not accept the situation with Hamas continuing as it is at the moment,” Abbas said on arrival in the Egyptian capital late on Saturday, in remarks published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.
“We won’t accept a partnership with them if the situation continues like this in Gaza where there is a shadow government … running the territory.
“The national consensus government cannot do anything on the ground,” he charged.
Abbas also accused Hamas of undertaking executions without trial.
Hamas denounced his allegations as “baseless”.
“Abbas’s statements against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
“It is untrue, baseless and unfair to our people,” he said, indicating that Hamas representatives would meet “soon” with their counterparts in Abbas’ Fatah movement to discuss fleshing out the reconciliation deal which was inked in April.
Abbas was expected to make an announcement to the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday regarding the unity agreement with Hamas.
Abbas on Sunday met his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo where they examined and discussed the Palestinian political and legal action aimed at ending the occupation and achieving an independent Palestinian state, WAFA reported.
Abbas expressed his gratitude for Egypt’s exerted efforts to stop Israeli aggression on Gaza and its concern for the Palestinian people’s rights, the news agency said.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hannah, reporting from Ramallah, said tension has been steadily rising between Hamas and Fatah over the past weeks.
“The remarks by Abbas were clearly designed as warning shots across the bows of Hamas,” he said.
“Abbas is intent on getting Hamas to give up a degree of control within Gaza, control that he says is being abused at present by Hamas.
“Abbas accused Hamas of running what amounts to a shadow government within Gaza.
“In the West Bank as well, Hamas said a large number of its members had been arrested over the past week, amid talk from various sources of a possible coup by Hamas within the West Bank.”
Under the terms of the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas earlier this year, the Palestinians agreed to form an interim consensus government of technocrats, ending seven years of rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza.
The unity deal sought to end years of bitter and sometimes bloody rivalry between the Hamas movement and its Fatah rivals who dominate the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
The new cabinet, which is based in Ramallah, took office on June 2, with Gaza’s Hamas government officially stepping down the same day.
Despite the handover, Hamas has remained the de facto power in Gaza, with moves to implement the provisions of the unity agreement put on hold due to the violence which erupted on July 8. Al Jazeera