For a commentary on the recent developments see also Gaza: US and Israel are asleep at the controls
Last update - 21:58 14/06/2007
Abbas dissolves gov't, declares state of emergency
By News Agencies
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided Thursday to declare a state of emergency and to dissolve the Hamas-Fatah coalititon government, following Hamas' near-complete takeover in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas' Fatah movement and rival faction Hamas have been waging bloody warfare in the Gaza Strip as Hamas moved in to seize control; at least 80 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of this week.
The decisions were announced in a news conference by top Abbas aide Tayeb Abdel Rahim.
The PA chairman also intends to call for the deployment of a multi-national force in Gaza, and plans to appoint an independent politician as the new Palestinian prime minister, to replace Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, his aides said earlier.
Abbas had already informed the United States, Egypt and Jordan of his decision, Rahim said.
Following the announcement of Abbas' decision, Hamas issued a statement saying it rejected Abbas' decrees.
"Hamas rejects the Abbas decisions. In practical terms these decisions are worthless. Prime Minister Haniyeh remains the head of the government even if it was dissolved by the president," senior Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.
Earlier Thursday, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said that the factions would attend an Egyptian-brokered meeting in the Gaza Strip later in the day. The information could not be confirmed independently.
In recent days, Hamas has repeatedly refused to attend Egyptian-brokered truce talks.
Meanwhile, the PLO decision-making body recommended Thursday that Abbas declare a state of emergency and dismantle the Palestinian unity government in response to Hamas' near-takeover of Gaza, an aide said.
Abbas said he would review the recommendations and make decision within hours, said Nabil Amr.
Earlier in the week, Fatah ministers suspended their activities in the government due to the Gaza violence, but stopped short of dismantling the partnership.
The unity government was formed in a bid to stem a previous round of violence, and in the hopes of easing the international boycott imposed in the wake of the Hamas election victory in January 2006. Neither aim was achieved.