A camel run across a street at the Erez crossing into Israel in Beit Hanun in the north of the Gaza Strip on January 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED
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Escalating tension between Islamist group Hamas and its Western-backed rival Fatah has pushed their "unity" government to the brink of collapse, harming efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip and complicating Palestinian statehood ambitions.Bombs exploded Friday at a major Gaza bank used by the unity government to pay most of the 70,000 public sector workers hired before Hamas took over the narrow, coastal enclave.Hamas, meanwhile, accuses Fatah of rounding up its party members in the West Bank, where the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority prevails.For its part, Hamas accuses Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads Fatah and controls the PA budget, of trying to throttle the group into submission, including by refusing to pay its 50,000 public-sector employees.The upshot is that Palestinians are now as polarized as ever, with Hamas overseeing Gaza and its 1.8 million people, while Fatah is in charge in the West Bank, where 2.8 million live.
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