TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ senior adviser, Mahmoud al-Habbash, accused Hamas of sending Gazans to their death for the sole purpose of garnering headlines featuring “emotional stories of heroism.”
During a sermon that aired Saturday on the PA’s official TV network, the top cleric said that the Palestinian population in Gaza was no longer being fooled by Hamas and was supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is also headed by Abbas.
Hamas was “selling illusions,” he continued, “trading in suffering and blood, trading in victims” so that it could make strong declarations on TV, according to a translation of the sermon by Israeli monitoring group, Palestinian Media Watch.
Al-Habbash said Hamas’ manipulative tactics would be more fitting inside Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, “after they liberated it.”
“These [Hamas] acts of ‘heroism’ don’t fool anyone anymore,” he said. “The Palestinian people…sides with the PLO.”
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas in a violent coup in 2007.
There have since been several reconciliation attempts between the terror group and Abbas’ Fatah faction but all have failed. The most recent deal, brokered by Egypt with the U.S.’ backing earlier this year, has fallen through over Hamas’ refusal to cede full control of the Gaza Strip to Abbas, including Hamas’s security apparatus.
On Sunday, Abbas said he will no longer be responsible for what happens in Gaza if Hamas continues to refuse to give up control of the coastal enclave.
Abbas made his comments to Fatah leaders in Ramallah, saying it was also the message he conveyed to the Egyptians.
“A few days ago, brothers from Egypt visited us and talked to us about the reconciliation [with Hamas],” Abbas said, in reference to a high level meeting headed by Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel. “We, of course, thanked Egypt for all its efforts, which began in 2007 and are continuing until this day.”
“We talked to them at length,” Abbas said. “We told them: We must be given everything [in the Gaza Strip]. Our government must be given everything, all institutions and ministries, including security and weapons.”
Abbas said that if Hamas continued to refuse to relinquish its weapons and security control, “we will not be responsible for what happens there. We are now waiting for a reply from Egypt, and when it arrives we will talk and take action.”
At the meeting in Ramallah, Abbas did not expound on what that action would be. He recently said he would take “legal, financial, and national” measures against Hamas, after his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, survived an assassination attempt in Gaza.