Abbas says Hamas "serving US interest"

Abbas says Hamas "serving US interest"
Abbas repeated his frequent assertion that Hamas are trying to form a "mini state" in Gaza, and vowed to oppose Trump's peace plan.
2 min read
29 October, 2018
Abbas cut off ties with the US after President Donald Trump (Anadolu)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is accusing his Hamas rivals of serving US interests by refusing to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas fears the US is planning a proposal that would offer the Palestinians limited statehood in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and some autonomy in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abbas demands full independence in both territories.

In a speech Monday, Abbas said that Hamas' refusal to give up control of Gaza is "accepting the thoughts of the enemy, who plans to have a mini state in Gaza and autonomy in West Bank."

Hamas took control of Gaza from Abbas' forces in 2007 after success in elections, and reconciliation efforts have repeatedly failed.

Abbas cut off ties with the US after President Donald Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year.

Thrawting Trump's peace plan

Abbas also on Sunday again vowed to oppose any peace proposal by US President Donald Trump as PLO officials met to consider their next moves.

Speaking at the opening of a rare meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's central council, Abbas said Palestinians were facing perhaps the "most dangerous stage" in their history, highlighting a series of controversial measures taken by Trump including recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abbas has boycotted Trump's administration since that December decision, though the US president's team is still expected to release a peace plan in the coming months.

Abbas compared the expected Trump proposal to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which saw the British government commit to the creation of a state for Jews in historic Palestine.

"If the Balfour Declaration passed, this deal will not pass," he pledged.

The US has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians, with Trump angered by Abbas's refusal to meet with him or members of his administration.

He has called on Abbas to negotiate, but Palestinian leaders say they are being blackmailed to accept Trump's terms, which they see as blatantly biased in favour of Israel.

"They are still talking about the deal of the era, and that they will present it after a month or two," Abbas added, saying Trump's actions amounted to imposing a deal unilaterally.

The Palestinian leader also renewed his support for salaries for families of Palestinians killed or jailed by Israel.

Israel brands the payments for families of those who have carried out anti-Israel attacks as encouraging "terrorism", and the United States has also criticised them.

Palestinians see those jailed or killed while carrying out attacks as fighting Israel's ongoing occupation.

"The salaries of our martyrs and prisoners are a red line," Abbas said.