Abbas Confirms Resignation Rumor, Slams Israel
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke Thursday night at a Ramallah news conference and confirmed that he would not seek reelection in January. Abbas stressed that his decision “is not meant as a tactic, or to manipulate.”
The PA head took advantage of the media attention to criticize Israel and Hamas. “The Israeli government is adopting a policy that ruins all peace efforts,” he charged.
Abbas has repeatedly accused Israel of ruining negotiation efforts for refusing to completely freeze construction for Jews in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem prior to resuming talks.
He accused the United States of backing Israel at the PA's expense. The U.S. has pressured Israel to accept Abbas's terms for a complete building freeze, but has also praised the current near-freeze as an “unprecedented” step.
Abbas criticized Hamas as well, blaming the rival terrorist group for ongoing tension with his own Fatah movement. Hamas has made “excuses” not to reconcile with Fatah, “while keeping our people under siege,” he charged.
"Isn't it time for Hamas to stop cooperating with foreign interests and pay attention to the interests of the Palestinian people?” Abbas asked.
Following Abbas's speech, Fatah party members in Jenin held a protest calling on the chairman to reconsider his decision. Several PA stations played music and videos honoring the PA leader throughout the day.
Fatah has not promoted any candidate as a potential replacement for Abbas. Polls show the most popular Fatah figure besides Abbas to be arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in the murder of several Israelis.