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Al-Qaeda-linked group bashes Hamas over reconciliation

Gaza jihadi organization calls Abbas a traitor, accuses Hamas of religious transgressions

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Palestinian salafists demonstrate in the southern Gaza Strip in September 2012. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Palestinian salafists demonstrate in the southern Gaza Strip in September 2012. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

A Gaza-based jihadist group lambasted the reconciliation deal reached between Fatah and Hamas last week, dubbing it “a political crime against Muslims in Palestine.”

The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a group associated with al-Qaeda involved in multiple rocket attacks on southern Israel, published a statement Wednesday calling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “traitor” and accusing Hamas of violating Islamic law by collaborating with him.

“This ‘reconciliation’ was based on a number of serious violations of Sharia accepted by Hamas, which scandalously ignored widespread calls within its ranks to reject it,” read the statement.

“The most flagrant transgression is accepting democracy and the ballot box as arbiter between the sides, vying for a portion of power, as well as affirming the presidency of the traitor Mahmoud Abbas and his right to determine the fate of Muslims in Palestine.”

In its statement, the Mujahideen Shura Council could not understand why Hamas suddenly decided to reconcile with Abbas, who on Saturday told a PLO gathering that his unity government will recognize Israel and continue negotiating with it and condemned the armed struggle.

“Despite all of this, Hamas’s leadership represented by Moussa Abu Marzouk described the speech as ‘positive’ and is moreover marketing the ‘reconciliation’ domestically and overseas as a great national achievement,” the council charged.

Directed primarily at Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip since its violent takeover of the territory in 2007, the statement was unusual in a Palestinian landscape that overwhelmingly supports the reconciliation deal reached recently between the rival Palestinian factions after years of abortive attempts. The statement accused Hamas of renouncing principles voiced in the past by its political leaders who were killed by Israel.

“The current Hamas leadership is moving between illegitimate, hopeless decisions, clearly breaking from the principles of the past … The ‘apostate’ traitors of Fatah, as described by [slain Hamas leader] Nizar Rayan, are today national partners and colleagues. The question of recognizing Israel — once an unforgivable crime — is no longer shameful to advocate,” read the statement.

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