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Haniyeh Defiant, Crisis Deepens
GAZA CITY — The Palestinian crisis deepened Friday, June 15, as Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas, vowed that his government would continue to function as the US and Israel are backing a Fatah government in the West Bank.
"The existing government will carry out its tasks in the best possible way," Haniyeh said in a broadcast, reported Reuters.
"I order security forces to maintain law and order from now on," he said one day after Abbas sacked the government and declared a state of emergency after six days of bloody faction fighting.
Calling Abbas's dismissal of the government "premature," Haniyeh said Hamas will not declare a "state" in Gaza where it overran its Fatah rivals.
"The Gaza Strip is an indivisible part of the homeland and its residents are an integral part of the Palestinian people. No to a state in the Gaza Strip only because the state is a whole that cannot be divided," he said.
"I call on my brothers in Hamas to declare a general amnesty and to guarantee people's lives," Haniyeh added.
He blamed the past week's violence on security chiefs from President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in Gaza and accused them of having persecuted Hamas members.
"They have committed crimes ... They have killed people just because they were bearded and because of their affiliations. They have abducted men and executed them before the eyes of their families," Haniyeh said.
"The situation reached an intolerable level and they have pushed people into reactions that have brought things to where they are now."
He also left a door open to talks, although Hamas officials have said previously this week that a condition for discussions with Fatah is that Hamas should have a leading say in security decisions for the Palestinians.