Ramallah-based PLO Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hinted during a three-day visit to Cairo this weekend he is close to ending the latest Palestinian Authority “unity government” with Hamas.
Hamas, meanwhile, warned that Abbas should keep his debates out of the media spotlight. “Abbas’s remarks against Hamas and the resistance are unjustified and the sources of information and figures he relied on were incorrect and have nothing to do with the truth,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zukhri told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
Abbas told media that more than 850 Hamas members and their family members were killed in this summer’s Operation Protective Edge – figures similar to those quoted by Israel.
On Saturday, Abbas told Egyptian reporters in Cairo that he is strongly inclined to end his unity deal with Gaza’s leadership unless the terrorist entity can make its peace with the idea of having a single government in leadership.
“If Hamas will not accept a Palestinian state with one government, one law and one weapon, then there will not be any partnership between us,” Abbas told reporters at a briefing. “This is our condition, and we will not back away from it.
“There are 27 under secretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government (unity government) cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said. It was his most blunt statement of powerlessness yet, making it clear that Hamas has yet to relinguish any authority over the region. That, despite the fact that the so-called “unity government” actually includes Hamas, although its ministers are technically “unaffiliated” technocrats.
“We will only talk to Hamas if they meet our requirements,” Abbas continued. “The partnership with Hamas depends on arms being under the control of the Palestinian state…” The latter is a direct reference to the fact that Hamas has repeatedly insisted on controlling the armed forces of the PA – some 3,000 fighters, to this point led by Hamas military wing Izz a-Din al-Qassam chief Mohammed Deif, who may have been killed by Israel during the recent Operation Protective Edge.
“[Hamas political bureau chief Khaled] Meshaal told me, ‘I’m the resistance leader and there will be no cease-fire without my agreement.’ One side cannot unilaterally declare war. That isn’t unity or reconciliation.”
Abbas also expressed exasperation with Hamas, asking how they could have been surprised by Israel’s rage, and military response to the abduction and murder of three teenage yeshival students, and rocket fire at civilians.
He also said he was fed up with Israel and the U.S. “Honestly, my patience with Israel, the United States and Hamas has expired,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran told reporters there had been a “escalation in the number of summons and arrests (of Hamas members) in the West Bank,” allegedly for “no reason.” Hamas, meanwhile, has told its members not to cooperate with Fatah investigations in Judea and Samaria.
This is not the first time this has happened.
Within the year after the Palestinian Authority legislative elections of January 25, 2006, Abbas accused Hamas of running its own “shadow government.”
The Gaza-based terrorist organization at that time went to war with Fatah, seizing total control over the region by June 2007.
Countless broken “reconciliation” and “unity” deals later, Abbas has yet to woo Hamas back to the fold. Instead, Gaza has become a haven for every terrorist entity in the Middle East, with Iran as the region’s benevolent benefactor, along with Qatar and Turkey.
The closest Abbas came to any “unity deal” was this past spring, when he broke ties with Israel and reneged on every international agreement he had ever made. Fatah-linked terrorist groups were ecstatic, as were Gaza fighters – but not so blinded that they gave Fatah carte blanche entry to the region. Abbas has yet to be able to walk into Gaza safely, unguarded.