Hamas Official: Abbas Not Welcome in Gaza

Hamas MP Yahya Moussa declares PA Chairman Abbas persona non grata in Gaza.

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Elad Benari,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hamas parliament member Yahya Moussa, one of the senior officials in the movement, has declared Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas persona non grata in Gaza.

In a statement translated by Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi, Moussa said that he opposes a visit by Abbas to Gaza, because Abbas wants to take advantage of such a visit to cover for his recent statements and strengthen his legitimacy.

He was referring to Abbas’s interview with Israeli television last week, in which he hinted that he had given up on the “right of return” when he said that he had no intention of trying to regain his childhood home in the northern town of Tzfat (Safed) in Galilee, which was liberated by Israel in 1948.

Abbas also reiterated his acceptance of the Israeli state within the 1949 Armistice borders that preceded its defeat of combined Arab armies in the 1967 Six Day war.

The comments caused an outrage among Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who said the PA Chairman had “affected” the right of return.

"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," said Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

Moussa also accused Abbas of striving to deepen the rift between the factions in the PA because of his insistence to turn to the UN in an attempt to obtain recognition of a non-member state instead of protecting the “Palestinian struggle.”

Meanwhile, Abbas’s Fatah movement has blamed the Hamas government of imposing a ban on any open activities marking the eighth anniversary of the death of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Fatah officials told the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that 36 senior Fatah officials in Gaza were summoned for talks with Hamas security officials, who warned them against any activity marking Arafat’s death. The Fatah officials further noted that the Hamas government continues to make life difficult for the Fatah faction in Gaza by continuing to summon and warn its officials.

Hamas and Fatah have had a longtime row since Hamas overthrew Fatah in Gaza in a violent and bloody coup in 2007. The parties attempted to resolve the feud between them when they signed a reconciliation deal in May of 2011. The deal has repeatedly faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.

Halevi noted that a website affiliated with Fatah recently uncovered documents relating to meetings between top political and military officials in Hamas, in which it was agreed on a strategy to eliminate the political presence of Fatah in Gaza and to bring down the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria by, among other actions, carrying out suicide bombings in Israel.