Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said Hamas was not serious about unity talks and accused US officials of lying about their intentions to aid the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
Abbas made the comments in a televised speech at the start of a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council, the PLO’s second highest decision-making body, in Ramallah.
“Hamas principally does not have intentions to achieve reconciliation,” Abbas said.
The comments came after the Egyptian Intelligence Services hosted separate talks with Fatah and Hamas officials over the past several weeks to discuss reconciliation.
Since Hamas and Fatah failed to implement an Egyptian-sponsored unity deal, which they signed in October 2017, reconciliation efforts have been at a standstill.
Abbas said the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership wants to unify the West Bank and Gaza under “one government, one law and one legitimate gun without militias.”
The Hamas terrorist group has been the effective sovereign inside the Gaza Strip since it ousted the Fatah-dominated and West Bank-based PA in 2007 from the territory.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, and other groups in the Gaza Strip have thousands of weapons. Hamas officials have defended “the right” of armed groups to possess weapons and have not said they would be willing to hand them over to the PA.
The PA president also asserted that US officials were being dishonest when they recently stated that they want to help Palestinians in Gaza by mitigating the dire humanitarian situation in the Strip.
“I swear to God, they are liars,” he said of US officials.
Trump administration officials recently wrote in an opinion article in the Washington Post that they seek to ameliorate the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Abbas also alleged that authorities permit Yigal Amir, who received a life sentence for assassinating former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to spend three to four days weekly at his home.
Assaf Liberati, a spokesman for the Prison Service, firmly denied Abbas’s comment. “Amir does not leave prison at all,” he said.
In addition, the Palestinian leader claimed that four groups pay funds to Amir similar to the way the Palestinian institutions make payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israel. He did not name the groups who he alleged pay Amir.
Liberati said that Amir only has access to a limited amount of funds to purchase items from a commissary at the prison he is located.
The televised portion of Abbas’s remarks lasted less than 13 minutes. He traditionally delivers long speeches in front of the cameras at the beginning of major PLO meetings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.