Palestinian Prime Minister survives a bomb attack in the Gaza Strip

An explosion to the passage of the convoy of the head of the Government of unit causes seven woundedThe first five-month visit to Gaza by Palestinian Prime Minister Ramdi Hamdala has been shaken by a bomb attack on Tuesday. Hamdala was unharmed, but seven members of his escort were injured in the explosion as the official caravan of an artifact, which caused damage to three vehicles.

Independent technocrat at the head of the failed unity government between Fatah, which runs the Palestinian Authority in part of the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls de facto the Mediterranean Strip for 11 years, the president had attended the inauguration of a treatment plant financed by international cooperation

The official caravan had just crossed the Erez border crossing from Israel at about nine in the morning (one hour less in mainland Spain) when a bomb exploded under the pavement in the Beit Hanun sector  of the Saladino highway, the axle that crosses the coastal enclave from north to south.

In the official convoy was also the head of Palestinian intelligence services, Majid Faraj, one of the main strong men of the Palestinian Authority, who was also unscathed. Hamdala and Faraj were scheduled to meet in Gaza with the Hamas leadership to try to resuscitate the moribund reconciliation process between the Palestinian political factions, but the attack forced the cancellation of the meeting.

Fatah and Hamas had agreed on October 12 in Cairo to reactivate the unity government that both forces agreed in 2014, and which has never become truly operative. Last November the 13 Palestinian parties gathered in Cairo at a national reconciliation conclave agreed to hold elections before the end of 2018.

Palestinians do not go to the polls to elect a president since 2005 and have not voted for their deputies since 2006. The final declaration of the political factions – which was negotiated behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence services – left the date of convocation of the elections in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

The refusal of Hamas to surrender control of security in Gazaand the maintenance of the economic sanctions imposed by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, on the Strip raise fears that the last inter-Palestinian agreement will follow the steps of the previous four attempts at understanding, which failed due to lack of implementation.

Abbas  blamed Hamas for the attack for not having guaranteed security to prevent the “vile and cowardly attack against the unity of the Palestinian people,” according to an official statement released in Ramallah, headquarters of the institutions of the Executive located 20 kilometers north of Jerusalem.

“Hamas is setting a dangerous precedent,” a spokesman for the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein al-Sheikh, has warned. The Islamic resistance movement also condemned through the social networks the attack against Hamdala, directed, he said, to sabotage the attempts of reconciliation between the political forces.

Hamas and Fatah clashed for control of Gaza in 2007, in an armed clash that left dozens dead. Salafist groups – radical Islamists close to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State – remain active in the Palestinian Strip, where they have launched rockets against Israel in recent months that have triggered military reprisals by the Hebrew State.

The humanitarian situation of the civilian population has deteriorated since then and more than 70% of the Gazans depend on international aid to survive. With the economy collapsed by the blockade of Israel and Egypt, the unemployment rate exceeds 45% of the active population.

Hamdala has decided to cut the length of her visit after the inauguration of the wastewater treatment plant – financed by the World Bank and the European Union – and returned to the West Bank. The explosion against his official caravan occurred near the place where a US diplomatic convoy suffered a bomb attack in 2003 in which three American security agents lost their lives.


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