Palestinian rivals Haniyeh, Abbas hold rare phone call
search

Palestinian rivals Haniyeh, Abbas hold rare phone call

Former Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal also calls the PA president to offer condolences on passing of Ahmed Abdel Rahman, official PA outlet reports

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, left, speak as they head the first cabinet meeting of the new coalition government at Abbas' office in Gaza City, March 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and then Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, left, speak as they head the first cabinet meeting of the new coalition government at Abbas' office in Gaza City, March 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and offered his condolences to him on the death of a well-known Fatah member, the official PA news site Wafa reported, marking a rare sign of contact between the two.

Abbas’s Fatah party has been at loggerheads with the Hamas terror group since the latter ousted the PA from the Gaza Strip in 2007. Multiple attempts to reconcile the two have failed.

In recent years, the PA president was believed to have seldom communicated with senior Hamas leaders.

Former senior Fatah official Ahmed Abdel Rahman died at the age of 76 on Monday.

“[Haniyeh] consoled him on the passing of the great national fighter Ahmed Abdel Rahman,” the Wafa report stated.

The Hamas-affiliated daily al-Resalah confirmed the call.

Throughout his career, Abdel Rahman held a number of positions in Palestinian officialdom such as Fatah spokesman, adviser to Abbas for PLO affairs, senior aide to former PA president Yasser Arafat, secretary-general of the PA cabinet among others.

Former Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal also called Abbas and offered his condolences to Abbas on the death of Abdel Rahman, according to a separate Wafa report.

The reports in Wafa and al-Resalah did not state whether Abbas and the Hamas leader discussed any topics other than Abdel Rahman’s passing, but they came as discussions about legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem have intensified.

In this file photo provided on Nov. 24, 2011, by the office of Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader Mashaal, left, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are seen together during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt. (AP/Office of Khaled Meshaal)

Both Abbas and Haniyeh have recently met with Hanna Nasser, the head of the PA Central Elections Commission, several times to discuss the possibility of holding legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

In late September, Abbas told the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City that he would call for general elections in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Hamas has declared that it was ready to participate in legislative and presidential elections on many occasions and has stated it was prepared to make some concessions to allow the vote to take place.

The PA has not held parliamentary or presidential elections since 2006 and 2005, respectively.

read more:
comments