An explosion struck the convoy carrying Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday morning in what was an assassination attempt as he was making a trip to northern Gaza for the opening of a new water treatment facility.
The explosion detonated after the convoy entered Gaza through the Erez border crossing from Israel, damaging several vehicles with windows blown out. Also present in the convoy was Palestinian Minister of Intelligence, Majid Faraj, who is a close ally to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. However, the spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Interior and National Security, Iyad Al-Bozom, in a Facebook post, said that no one was injured from the attack.
Despite the assassination attempt, Hamdallah went on to appear at the opening event of the water treatment plant in which he addressed the attack in his speech.
This incident will not stop me from entering Gaza. If I did not need to travel tomorrow, then I would stay in Gaza for several days. Those who do not like the idea of me being here should go and drink from the Gaza seawater.
Immediately following the explosion, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement blamed the attack on the Islamist Hamas. Osama al-Qawasmi, a Fatah spokesman and member of the Revolutionary Council, as well as the presidential spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned the “cowardly” attack, to which Hamas fired back at their accusations by calling the explosion a crime and an attempt “to strike any efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation” and that they, too, condemn the explosion.
Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, also condemned the attack.
Until the legitimate Palestinian Authority is fully empowered in Gaza, Hamas has the responsibility to ensure that the government is able to carry out its work in the Strip without fear of intimidation, harassment, and violence.
Although the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and the Islamist Hamas have reached an agreement to form a national unity government in October after a decade of failed attempts, efforts on reconciliation have stalled as the Palestinian Authority never fully withdrew their punitive measures against Gaza, which was intended to weaken Hamas. For Hamas, they have not shown desire and inclination to give up its weapons. Nevertheless, both sides have repeatedly underscored the importance of reconciliation in the future.