Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas derided Hamas claims of victory in the conflict it waged against Israel this summer.
In an interview with Egyptian television on Wednesday, Abbas also castigated the Islamist group for orchestrating the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank on June 12 — the act that sparked the escalation of hostilities that led to the war.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, which screened clips of the interview on Thursday, Abbas also said he would not compete for another term as PA president if elections were held in the near future, since he needed a rest from political life. The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process provides for parliamentary and presidential elections, but no date has been fixed, and while the “unity” government backed by the rival factions held a first cabinet meeting in Gaza last week, the partnership is highly strained.
“What did we get out of it?” Abbas asked rhetorically, speaking about the Israel-Hamas conflict in July-August, in a section of the interview shown on Channel 2.
“For what did we suffer through those 50 days? We had 2,200 fatalities, 10,000 injured, 40,000 homes and facilities and factories destroyed. Tell me, what did we achieve?” (Hamas and the UN say most of the Gaza fatalities were civilians; Abbas used his speech to the UN General Assembly last month to accuse Israel of perpetrating genocide; Israel says some 1,000 of the dead were Hamas and other gunmen, and blames Hamas for all civilian casualties since it emplaced its war machine in Gaza residential areas.)
While Hamas has boasted that it was victorious in the summer conflict — it fired over 4,600 rockets at Israel, and staged several attacks through its cross-border tunnels, killing 72 Israelis, 66 of them soldiers — Abbas took a different view.
“I don’t want to delude my self by saying: It was a victory,” he said. “What victory?”