The Palestinian Authority (PA) government in Ramallah has admitted that Hamas-ruled Gaza has turned into an independent entity.
The government on Sunday condemned the unilateral steps taken by Hamas to effectively control Gaza, further deepening the rift between the sides.
Yusuf al-Mahmoud, the official spokesman for the government in Ramallah, said that the appointment of a deputy minister of justice in Gaza and the establishment of a special ministry by Hamas constituted a further violation of Palestinian law and was a step towards deepening the split between Hamas and the Ramallah government headed by Fatah.
Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup. All attempts to reconcile the sides have thus far failed.
A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in 2015 when PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.
Since the unity government was dissolved, Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks in Doha, Qatar – but with no success.
The PA has recently taken punitive measures against Hamas due to its moves in Gaza, but Hamas continues its policy of separation from the PA, while striving to strengthen its influence in Judea and Samaria.