Hamas: Abbas is fabricating stories to defame us in Egypt

‘We initially thought Mossad was behind the smear campaign,’ Hamas official tells Al-Jazeera

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

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90/File)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90/File)

As Hamas struggles to recuperate from the ouster of its ally Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, the Palestinian Islamic party on Monday accused rival movement Fatah of inciting the Egyptian public against it by fabricating news intended for the Egyptian media.

In a press statement issued Monday on its official website, Hamas claimed it has obtained documents indicating that Fatah had established a special committee tasked with fabricating news meant to demonize Hamas and incite the Egyptian public against it.

The documents, Hamas claimed, expose “the conspiracy led by Fatah to demonize and defame Hamas and the Palestinian resistance.”

Hamas official Salah Bardawil told Al-Jazeera on Monday that the secret committee was headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah official Tayeb Abdel Rahim.

Al-Jazeera displayed an image of a signed letter ostensibly sent from Fatah’s media department to Abdel Rahim on July 24, requesting that PA security agencies concoct documents linking Hamas to the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last August, ahead of Abbas’ trip to Egypt.

“Hamas had thought the Israeli Mossad or certain countries were behind the campaign, but was surprised to discover that President Mahmoud Abbas is behind it,” Bardawil told Al-Jazeera, claiming the allegations against Hamas amounted to incitement to kill Palestinians and “annihilate” Hamas.

On Friday, Egypt’s official news agency reported that Morsi had been arrested for 15 days and was being investigated over contacts with Hamas, which allegedly helped in his escape from prison in 2011. This was the first official statement tying Hamas to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, though reports to that effect have been circulated by Egypt’s independent press for months prior.

Abbas flew to Cairo on Monday along with a high-ranking Palestinian delegation for talks with the new Egyptian government. The Palestinian officials met with Interim President Adly Mansour, his deputy for international relations Mohamed ElBaradei and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

But Hamas claimed in its statement that Abbas was visiting Egypt only to “incite” the public against it and convince the leadership in Cairo to officially accuse Hamas of killing 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last year, “which is completely false and fabricated.”

Hamas had been at pains to deny its involvement in fanning the flames of Egypt’s unrest, accusations that only increased in Egyptian media since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi on July 3.

Expressing Hamas’ defensive panic, spokesman Osama Hamdan on Monday claimed that the accusations leveled at Hamas were part of a “hostile conspiracy” aimed at “the entire region, and at the resistance project first and foremost.”

Arguing that Hamas had colluded with the Muslim Brotherhood was bizarre, Hamdan added, given “the perfect harmony between Egypt’s new political standpoint and the allegations of the Israeli occupation.”

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