PA’s Abbas in Doha to discuss efforts to achieve Gaza truce

Palestinian Authority leader, Qatari emir also set to address bid to increase humanitarian aid to Gazan population

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the West Bank town of Ramallah, February 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the West Bank town of Ramallah, February 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha on Sunday for talks on securing a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war with the Qatari emir, whose country has been at the heart of mediation efforts and hosts political leaders of the terror group.

Palestinian official news agency WAFA said Abbas would meet Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Monday, but did not say if he would also meet leaders of Hamas, which has long been at odds with Abbas and his West Bank-based Fatah group.

The Palestinian ambassador to Qatar, Munir Ghannam, told Voice of Palestine Radio on Sunday that Abbas and the emir would discuss efforts to secure a Gaza truce with Israel and ways to increase aid for the territory’s 2.3 million people.

“Qatar plays an important role in the international efforts and mediation to reach a ceasefire. Therefore, coordination with Qatar, also with Egypt, is of special importance, to bring an end to this aggression against our people,” Ghannam said.

Qatar hosts the political head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as another senior leader in the group, Khaled Mashaal, who handles diaspora affairs in the Hamas political office.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the Ramallah-based Abbas after a brief civil war with security forces that were loyal to the Palestinian president.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Lusail Palace, in Doha, Qatar, February 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

Abbas’s authority has largely been reduced to the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Past attempts, mainly led by Egypt, to resolve disputes between Hamas and Fatah have so far failed to end the rifts, which analysts say weakens Palestinian efforts to secure a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Saudi outlet Asharq reported Sunday that Abbas is proposing an agreement with Hamas on forming a new technocratic government to run affairs in both the West Bank and Gaza following the war there/

The report said Abbas suggests the government be led by Palestinian economist Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund.

Then-emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, center, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and then-Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, arrive to sign an agreement in Doha, Qatar on February 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File)

The war broke out with Hamas’s October 7 attack, during which thousands of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 253.

Israel’s ensuing offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has killed over 28,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. These numbers cannot be independently verified and do not differentiate between civilians and Hamas operatives and Gazans killed by terror groups’ misfired rockets. Israel says it has killed over 10,000 Hamas terrorists since the war began alongside 1,000 terrorists killed in Israel on October 7.

The current war has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, displacing over a million people, many of whom are lacking basic needs.

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