Abbas derides Hamas talk of ‘victory’ in war against Israel
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Abbas derides Hamas talk of ‘victory’ in war against Israel

PA president also tells Egyptian TV he won't stand for reelection if vote is held soon, since he needs a rest from political life

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recites a prayer in memory of those killed during the Gaza campaign ahead of a press conference on August 26, 2014 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, to formally announce a ceasefire with Israel.  (photo credit: AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recites a prayer in memory of those killed during the Gaza campaign ahead of a press conference on August 26, 2014 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, to formally announce a ceasefire with Israel. (photo credit: AFP/Abbas Momani)

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?”

Palestinian gunmen from the military wing of Hamas during what they termed a 'victory rally' amid the debris of destroyed houses in Shejaiya, a Hamas stronghold of Gaza City, Wednesday, August 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Adel Hana)
Palestinian gunmen from the military wing of Hamas during what they termed a ‘victory rally’ amid the debris of destroyed houses in Shejaiya, a Hamas stronghold of Gaza City, Wednesday, August 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Adel Hana)

 

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