Fatah says Hamas disconnected from Palestinian people, reality

Fatah slams Hamas for ‘returning Israeli occupation to Gaza’ with its Oct. 7 ‘adventure’

Abbas’s party hits back at Hamas and other Palestinian groups after they criticized ‘divisive’ appointment of new PA prime minister

People wave Palestinian, Hamas and Fatah flags during a march in support of the people in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank city of Nablus on October 26, 2023 (Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
People wave Palestinian, Hamas and Fatah flags during a march in support of the people in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank city of Nablus on October 26, 2023 (Zain JAAFAR / AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party hit back at criticism on Friday by Hamas and other factions over his appointment of a new prime minister they said could deepen divisions.

Fatah accused Hamas of returning the “Israeli occupation” to Gaza through its “October 7 adventure,” calling this a worse catastrophe than that caused by the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Abbas appointed Mohammad Mustafa, a long-trusted adviser on economic affairs, as prime minister on Thursday and tasked him with forming a new government.

But the factions said in a statement Friday that “making individual decisions, and engaging in formal steps that are devoid of substance, like forming a new government without national consensus, is a reinforcement of a policy of exclusion and the deepening of division.”

Such steps point to a “huge gap between the (Palestinian) Authority and the people, their concerns and their aspirations,” they said.

The other signatories were Islamic Jihad, the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party that seeks a third way between Fatah and Hamas.

Mustafa replaces Mohammed Shtayyeh, who resigned less than three weeks ago, citing the need for change after the Hamas onslaught of October 7 triggered the war in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) with Prime Minister-designate Mohammad Mustafa in Ramallah on March 14, 2024. (Wafa)

Mustafa accepted the appointment and said in a letter to Abbas published on Friday that he was “well aware of the severity of the… dire circumstances that the Palestinian people are going through.”

Fatah hit back at Hamas late Friday, accusing the Islamist terror movement in a statement of “having caused the return of the Israeli occupation of Gaza” by “undertaking the October 7 adventure.”

This led to a “catastrophe even more horrible and cruel than that of 1948,” they said.

“The real disconnection from reality and the Palestinian people is that of the Hamas leadership,” said Fatah, bitterly deriding Hamas for failing to “consult” with the rest of the Palestinian leadership before launching its attack on Israel.

It also charged Hamas with negotiating with Israel in an effort to obtain “guarantees for its leaders’ personal security.”

During the October 7 attack, Hamas terrorists stormed into southern Israel under the cover of thousands of rockets, and murdered around 1,200 people, mostly civilians. In addition, terrorists abducted 253 people and took them as hostages to Gaza.

The onslaught led to a declaration of war by Israel. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that almost 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, but the number cannot be independently verified as it is believed to include both Hamas terrorists and civilians, some of whom were killed as a consequence of the terror group’s own rocket misfires.

Displaced Palestinians carry their belongings through a street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 6, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

The IDF says it has killed over 13,000 terrorists in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 who were killed inside Israel on and immediately following October 7.

Mustafa, 69, now faces the task of forming a new government for the Palestinian Authority, which has limited powers in parts of the West Bank.

Analysts have said Mustafa’s closeness to Abbas would limit chances for major reform of the Palestinian Authority.

The United States and other powers have called for a reformed Palestinian Authority to take charge of all Palestinian territories after the war ends as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has rejected post-war plans for Palestinian sovereignty and has refused to hand the Gaza Strip to the PA.

Arab and international efforts have so far failed to reconcile Hamas and Fatah, which makes the backbone of the PA, since the Hamas 2007 takeover of Gaza, a move that reduced Abbas’s authority to the West Bank.

Palestinians want both territories as the core of a future independent state.

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