Palestinians rally in Ramallah demanding PA to drop Gaza sanctions

Hundreds of Palestinians have taken to the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, demanding that the Palestinian Authority lift its sanctions against the Gaza Strip, condemning them as punitive measures against the Palestinian people.

The rally was organized Sunday by a group dubbed “Movement for lifting sanctions imposed on Gaza”, which includes academics, journalists, writers, artists, prisoners, activists and other individuals.

The protesters urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to the sanctions imposed on Gaza since March 2017. They also called for unity and an end to the division between the Palestinian factions.

The West Bank-based Palestinian Fatah party and the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, have been at odds ever since the latter scored a landslide victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

Since 2007, Hamas has been governing Gaza while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The two rival Palestinian factions finally agreed on a unity government in April 2014, but it fell apart months later.

In October 2017,  Hamas and Fatah inked a reconciliation deal in Cairo to put an end to their decade-long rivalry, and agreed to hand over the full administrative control of Gaza to the PA by December 1, but tensions between the two factions continued to rise.

Abbas last March called on Hamas to hand over the Gaza Strip at once.

Hamas political bureau member Hussam Badran hailed Ramallah protests as a step in the right direction, urging the PA to respond to the protesters’ demands and to immediately and forever lift the sanctions.

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