JERUSALEM, Israel – Ahead of his upcoming meeting on May 3 with President Donald Trump, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may be trying to distance his Ramallah-based government from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip by cutting off funding for electricity to Gaza. But the two groups still hold their hatred for Israel in common.
Trump is arguably the most pro-Israel president in the White House for years. That may be making Abbas a little jittery.
For years, Hamas and Fatah have talked about reconciling and forming a unity government, but disputes between the two factions continue. They do, however, agree on one thing: Israel has got to go.
A little over a month ago, Fatah Central Committee member Muhaammad Shtayyeh affirmed the faction has never recognized Israel's right to exist.
"To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel," Shtayyeh, who also serves as commissioner of treasury and economy, said. "The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah's conferences," the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported.
Meanwhile, Hamas is ready to announce its new charter, according to the P.A.'s official Ma'an news agency.
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said the charter affirms its vision of a Palestinian state.
"Our principles say that our land is all of Palestine, including the land that is under occupation [i.e., Israel]," al-Zahar said in an interview on Lebanese television. Establishing a state in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza, he said, "is a tactical step that does not harm the right of the Palestinians to all of the land of Palestine."
Zionist Organization of America National President Morton Klein says facts on the ground bear witness that talk of a durable settlement with Israel seems to be an unending myth.
"The idea that the Palestinian Arab leadership and society accept Israel and desire a durable peace settlement with the Jewish state is one of the most persistent myths that one hears repeated endlessly," Klein said.
Ahead of the meeting in Washington, P.A. officials told Israel Defense Forces Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Thursday it won't pay for electricity anymore that Israel supplies to Gaza.
Hamas shuts down Gaza's sole power plant from time to time ostensibly due to fuel shortages, rationing electricity to residents to as little as four hours a day.
Israel provides 125 megawatts of electricity to Gaza, about 30 percent of its daily needs through 10 power lines. Egypt provides 27 megawatts, plus another 60-80 megawatts, through a power station that's also been offline due to lack of fuel.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007, power outages are by no means a new phenomenon.