Hamas slammed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, in response to comments he made in an interview he gave to Israel’s Channel 2 News.
In the interview, which aired on the network’s Friday evening news magazine, Abbas hinted he would be willing to give up on the so-called “right of return” and said that he considers Palestine as “a state within the pre-1967 borders which exists alongside Israel.”
The comments irked Hamas’ prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who issued an angry statement and said that Abbas’ remarks represent only his personal opinion and not the opinions of the “Palestinian people.”
“Abbas’s remarks affect the right of return,” Haniyeh said. “Not just Abbas’s rights as a person, but the rights of six million Palestinians.”
He added, "No one has the right, whoever he is, a common man or president, organization, a government or authority - to give up an inch of Palestinian land."
Abbas was also condemned by Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri, who said that “the statements by Abbas, in which he claimed that Palestine is made up only of the territories occupied in 1967, are statements that are not national and which and eliminate the right of return. These are concepts that represent the opinion of Mahmoud Abbas only - they do not represent in any way the views of the Palestinian people.”
Abu-Zuhri stressed that "the Palestinians insist that all areas of Palestine belong to them."
In the interview, which was made ahead of his latest unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations, Abbas also said that he will never allow a third intifada.
“There will be no intifada, and we will not, under any circumstances, return to using weapons or violence,” he said,
“As long as I'm sitting here, in this position, I will not allow an intifada. We will act only through diplomatic and peaceful means,” Abbas said in the interview which was held Thursday in his Ramallah headquarters.
"I'm ready to return to negotiations," said Abbas, repeating claims he recently made in conversations with EU representatives, and calling on Israel to bring the peace negotiations back to the agenda ahead of the upcoming elections. "This issue will determine the fate of your children, I am the last person with whom you can reach an agreement,” he claimed.
At the same time, he insisted on going to the UN and asking the General Assembly to recognize ‘Palestine’ and give it ‘super-observer’ status.
“Is this a unilateral move?" he asked, adding, “What Israel is doing by continuing to build settlements are unilateral moves.”
Abbas has constantly imposed preconditions on peace talks with Israel, demanding that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as final borders, release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem before talks begin. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
In a concession to Abbas’ demands, Israel imposed a nine-month freeze on Jewish construction in 2010. Abbas, however, rejected returning to talks because, he said at the time, the freeze did not extend to all of Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, his chief negotiator claimed that a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria was an Israeli obligation, not a condition set by the PA.
Abbas is also known for his “double-talk”, and just last week he wrote an open letter to the residents of Gaza, in which he said that all land liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War was “occupied territory.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)