Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused the Gaza-based resistance movement, Hamas, of attempting “to destroy” efforts aimed at bringing about unity among Palestinians.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, Abbas held Hamas accountable for a series of bomb explosions that targeted the leaders of his Fatah movement in the besieged Gaza Strip last week.
“Those who caused the explosions in Gaza are the leaders of Hamas – they are responsible,” Abbas said, accusing the rival Palestinian political faction of trying “to sabotage and destroy the Palestinian national project.”
Hamas, in return, rejected the Palestinian president’s remarks as “lies.”
“Abbas’ speech is a web of lies, insults and disinformation,” Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Mushir al-Masri, said on Tuesday.
Masri also described Abbas as “sectarian and partisan,” adding, “What the Palestinian people need is a courageous president.”
In April, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to end years of rivalry and form a unity government. The new cabinet of the Palestinian unity government was sworn in on June 2. The cabinet, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, has 17 ministers, including five from the Hamas movement.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.