Vastavam web: The West Bank-based government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will stop paying for electricity in the power-starved Gaza Strip and “dry up” the flow of funds to the territory’s Hamas rulers, a senior official said today.Hamas accused the Abbas government of irresponsible behaviour and warned that the announced cuts would be disastrous for Gaza’s 2 million residents.After several failed reconciliation attempts, Abbas recently said he would pressure Hamas financially to force it to cede ground. The Palestinian leader was to meet today at the White House with President Donald Trump to discuss ways of restarting long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Steps against Hamas could bolster Abbas’ claims that he speaks for all Palestinians.
In the West Bank, a senior official said the Abbas government would stop paying for the electricity Israel sends to Gaza, worth at least 11 million a month.Al-Sheikh said the aim was to “dry up Hamas’ financial resources.” He said efforts would be made not to harm services to Gaza residents, but did not explain how that would be possible.Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Abbas of siding with Israel in trying to punish Hamas.Gaza residents have been enduring worsening power cuts – a result of border blockades by Israel and Egypt that were triggered by the Hamas takeover. Residents currently live with rolling blackouts – six hours on, 12 hours off – that have further crippled an economy devastated by conflict.