Abbas says will keep up financial pressure on Hamas in Gaza


RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to keep cutting support payments for Hamas-ruled Gaza despite what he says is U.S. criticism of such tactics.

Abbas’ autonomy government in the West Bank began earlier this year to scale back electricity payments and other financial support to force Hamas to cede ground in Gaza.

The Islamic militant group seized the territory in 2007, defeating pro-Abbas forces. Reconciliation attempts failed.

Abbas told a gathering at his headquarters Saturday that “we will continue the cuts in Gaza, gradually, unless Hamas accepts the requirements of the reconciliation.”

Such cuts have exacerbated blackouts.

Abbas says U.S. officials told him he shouldn’t cut electricity. He says those opposed to pressuring Hamas “don’t want to see an independent state” — presumably because a continued political split precludes independence.

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