Abbas, Hamas in War of Words over Gaza Explosions

Hamas brands Mahmoud Abbas a liar, after PA head accuses Islamist group of carrying out bomb blasts targeting Fatah officials.

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Arutz Sheva Staff, | updated: 15:38

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused the Islamist movement Hamas of trying "to destroy" efforts to broker "national unity" through a series of bomb blasts in Gaza last week.

Hamas quickly hit back, describing the allegations as "lies, insults and disinformation."

In a speech marking the 10th anniversary of the death his predecessor Yasser Arafat, Abbas said Hamas was behind the Gaza explosions which targeted leaders of his Fatah movement.

The blasts prompted the cancellation of a rare memorial service in Gaza for Arafat, the Fatah founder who died after a long illness in a hospital near Paris.

"Those who caused the explosions in Gaza are the leaders of Hamas - they are responsible," Abbas said in the West Bank city of Ramallah, accusing the rival faction of trying "to sabotage and destroy the Palestinian national project."

Earlier this year, the two nationalist movements signed a reconciliation agreement aimed at ending seven years of bitter and sometimes bloody rivalry. 

The deal led to the creation of a government of national consensus which took office in Ramallah but has yet to fully exert its powers in Gaza, Hamas's stronghold. The prime minister of the "national unity" government, Rami Hamdallah, cancelled his first scheduled trip to Gaza after the explosions.

Fayez Abou Eita, spokesman for Fatah in Gaza, called for an inquiry into the "terrorist" blasts, which reportedly caused no casualties.

Following his speech, Hamas denounced Abbas as "sectarian and partisan."

"Abbas's speech is web of lies, insults and disinformation," said Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

"What the Palestinian people need is a courageous president."

Abbas also addressed the clashes which have gripped Jerusalem for the past four months and spoke about unrest at the Temple Mount, which Muslims refer to as the "Al Aqsa Mosque compound."

The Palestinians "will defend Al-Aqsa and the churches against the settlers and extremists," he pledged.

Abbas also reaffirmed his plans to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council later this month calling for an end to Israel's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria by November 2016.

He promised that the PA, which won the UN rank of "observer state" in 2012, would breach previous agreements with Israel by applying to join a host of international organisations if the resolution was blocked by a US veto.

"We will not tolerate any pressure," he said, referring to US efforts to dissuade the PA from approaching the Security Council.

AFP contributed to this report.








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