Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly threatening to sever all ties with Israel if it reaches a long-term truce agreement with Hamas that bypasses the PA and Abbas’s Fatah party.
According to a report Friday in the Saudi-owned daily Al-Hayat, Abbas’s threat has prompted Egypt, which along with the UN has been the main broker in efforts to cement a deal in Gaza, to redouble its efforts toward internal Palestinian reconciliation and set aside for the time being the Israel-Hamas track.
The report, which relied on Palestinian sources, said that Abbas had conveyed to Israel a message saying, “Good luck with Hamas,” apparently sarcastically.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Tuesday reiterated his denial that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with Israel, saying that hostilities will not end until the blockade of the coastal enclave has been lifted.
“Solidifying the ceasefire means not returning to the situation of a siege at all. So far, there is no agreement or any formula for a ceasefire,” he said.
Regarding intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks, which have stalled recently, Sinwar said that a deal was still the ultimate goal.
“It is clear that the current state of affairs is not moving at the required pace for reconciliation, but we will not and have not lost hope in achieving this national track,” he said. “After reconciliation hit a dead end, an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip was being planned by several parties, but the March of Return foiled that plan.”
Sinwar charged that the talks broke down because “official Palestinian parties worked together with the Zionist intelligence services to make reconciliation fail.”
Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas have been deeply divided for more than a decade. Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007 and several attempts at reconciliation since then have failed.
The PA government has been putting pressure on Hamas to reach a reconciliation deal that would return Fatah rule to Gaza, and earlier this year began to scale back electricity payments and other financial support in an effort to force Hamas to cede ground in Gaza.
Abbas is demanding that Hamas hand over complete control of Gaza to the PA, and that the switch be conducted in a single stroke rather than in stages. He has repeatedly warned against the reported deal taking shape between Israel and Hamas for a long-term ceasefire in Gaza if it does not include the PA.
Agencies contributed to this report.