Hamas warns Abbas against 'unilateral steps'

Hamas demands that it be included in the PLO parliament.

Dalit Halevi,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Hamas on Monday warned Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas against taking “unilateral steps” regarding the composition of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

The organization called on Abbas to take into account an agreement reached between Palestinian organizations in Beirut that emphasized the importance of implementing the reconciliation agreements between Fatah and Hamas.

In a statement, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem demanded that Abbas re-establish the PNC, an institution that serves as the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) “parliament”, based on a partnership of all the Palestinian organizations.

Hamas seeks to join the PNC and other PLO institutions in an attempt to take over the internationally recognized organization as the sole representative of the Palestinian Arab people.

The PNC, which most recently convened in 1996 in Gaza and in 2009 in Ramallah, is composed of representatives of PLO-affiliated organizations only and does not include representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Islamist organizations.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup. All attempts to reconcile the sides have thus far failed.

A unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in 2015 when Abbas decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.

Since the unity government was dissolved, Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks in Doha, Qatar – but with no success.

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