Daily Israel Report

Abbas to Hamas: 10 Days to OK Deal or Referendum in 40

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has given PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh an ultimatum: Accept a deal for borders within the ’67 line or the issue goes to a general referendum.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 5/25/2006, 3:40 PM / Last Update: 5/25/2006, 4:15 PM

In what appears to be a major showdown between the two Palestinian Authority leaders, Abbas warned PA groups that he will send the “Prisoners’ Plan” for a peace agreement to a national referendum within 40 days if it is not accepted by the Hamas-led PA government.

Haniyeh told the PA parliament there is an “international network” conspiring to “suffocate and starve” the PA population. He told the session, held simultaneously by video conference in Gaza and Ramallah, that the U.S. gave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s unilateral withdrawal plan a green light during talks this week between the U.S. and Israel.

“Israel is trying to set up a country with a Jewish majority and preserve Jerusalem as its capital,” he told PA legislators. “This shows the Israeli government wants to keep the occupation. Unfortunately, the Americans are on Israel’s side.”The Hamas chairman reiterated his pledge not to make concessions in order to reach a peace agreement with Israel and blamed the U.S. for the international freeze on funds to the terrorist-led PA government.

Haniyeh praised the Fatah and Hamas terrorists who murdered and wounded Israelis in years past and who continue to do so.“These two movements have carried out qualitative attacks and operations against the Israelis, attacks that have been reason for glory for our people among all peoples of the Arab world and the Islamic world,” said Haniyeh in his speech to the PA parliament.

(To listen to a translated clip of Haniyeh's speech, broadcast on CNN, click here.)

“Scores of martyrs have become a kind of a Wedding Day for all of us, that they gather all of us around every grave of each martyr …. united and working together until we liberate Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem," he said.

Fatah Chairman Abbas, meanwhile, said bluntly that the time has come for the PA government to wake up and do what it can to achieve peace with Israel.

In his speech, Abbas stunned PA lawmakers by telling them that the best option left at this point is to accept the “Prisoners’ Plan” written together by imprisoned Fatah and Hamas terrorists in their jail in Israel.

“Are slogans enough to feed the hungry?” Abbas demanded of the PA parliament. “We must stop with the slogans and start dealing with reality. We must stop dreaming and accept what we can take now. Let us not speak of dreams. Let us take the Palestinian state on the ’67 borders,” he stated.

Abbas insisted that the majority of PA Arabs are willing to accept the deal. “There is a national consensus on this,” he said, adding that the current infighting between Fatah and Hamas is simply wasting time.

“We shouldn’t have dialogue for the sake of dialogue,” he told the lawmakers. “We should have dialogue to solve our problems.” The two factions met Thursday to discuss ways to end the violence that threatens to plunge PA Arabs into what they fear will become a civil war. Despite the talks, clashes between Fatah and Hamas militants continued throughout the day, leaving at least one dead and four wounded.

“The Israelis are killing our people every day and now we are busy with internal divisions,” said Abbas, referring to the assassination of the chief of the Fatah-aligned Preventive Security Service in Arab-on-Arab violence this week.

“We must stop this,” Abbas repeated.