13 April 2017 Current Affairs:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that he will take “unprecedented steps” to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza ( (Palestinian split).Mr. Abbas did not explain, but could try to use financial pressure to extract concessions from the Islamic militant Hamas which seized Gaza from him in 2007.The escalating rhetoric comes ahead of a planned meeting between Mr. Abbas and President Donald Trump that will likely focus on a possible resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations about Palestinian statehood. No date has been set, but a Palestinian advance team heads to Washington later this month.Mr. Abbas and his supporters seek a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. Hamas wants an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including present-day Israel, though a new political program suggests the group would accept a state in the 1967 lines, for now.Last month, Hamas set up an administrative committee for Gaza, further angering Mr. Abbas.These 60,000 ex-employees continued to receive salaries for staying home after the Hamas takeover, as a way of ensuring their loyalty to Mr. Abbas. However, their spending also helped support the Gaza economy, inadvertently propping up Hamas.Earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority noted that it spent $17 billion in Gaza since 2007, including for salaries and development aid.Mr. Abbas told Palestinian diplomats in Bahrain on Wednesday that this policy would change.“These days, we are in a dangerous and tough situation that requires decisive steps, and we are to take these decisive steps,” Mr. Abbas was quoted as saying by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. “Therefore, we are going to take unprecedented steps in the coming days to end the division.”Mr. Barhoum accused Mr. Abbas of trying to pressure Hamas ahead of his Trump.