Hamas on Sunday called on the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, to stop peace talks with Israel. Instead, said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, the PA should work for national unity.
Abu Zuhri said that the remarks made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his speech at the Bar-Ilan University, according to which negotiations with the PA are fruitless so long as the PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, require the PA to renounce the dialogue with Israel, implement the terms of the reconciliation plan between Hamas and Fatah and formulate a strategy agreed to deal with the “Zionist stubbornness and crimes,” as he put it.
Hamas and Fatah, which is headed by Abbas, have been at odds with one another since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza, setting up its own government there and cracking down on Fatah officials who reside in the territory.
Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.
Implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Taher Al-Nunu, the public relations consultant for Hamas’s Gaza prime minister, denied on Sunday media reports that "President" Abbas plans to visit Gaza with the approval of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Hamas’s denial came following a report in a newspaper which stated that Haniyeh had told reporters that there was a possibility that Abbas would visit Gaza soon.