Israel has put pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to disburse badly-needed funds to the blockaded Gaza Strip, local media has reported.
“Israel pressured Mahmoud Abbas to transfer money to the Gaza Strip in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe there,” Israeli radio reported.
According to the broadcaster, Israel wanted to deliver the message that Abbas “would not be the one to decide whether -- or when -- another conflict would erupt in Gaza”.
In 2014, Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah -- which govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively -- agreed to establish a unity government.
But the unity government failed to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding differences between the two factions.
In an effort to pressure Hamas into relinquishing control of the coastal enclave, Abbas last year cut the salaries of over 60,000 Gazans employed by the Palestinian Authority, exacerbating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis.
According to Palestine’s official statistics agency, the poverty rate in Gaza reached 53 percent in 2017, with at least 250,000 people -- out of the strip’s roughly two million inhabitants -- facing unemployment.