Obama and Abbas
Obama and AbbasIsrael news photo: PLO Site

Well over half of the Palestinian Authority budget is spent in Hamas-run Gaza, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the Algerian paper Al-Shuruk in an interview printed Wednesday. The PA budget is supplied mainly by the European Union and the United States, both of which refuse to fund Hamas because it is a terrorist group.

For one thing, the PA continues to pay a monthly salary to 77,000 Gaza residents who used to work for the Fatah-led PA that was overturned in a bloody Hamas coup in 2007.

PA money also covers the cost of fuel for the Gaza power plant, the district's water, many of the medicines in Gaza hospitals, and more, said Abbas. A total of 58% of the PA's funds go to Gaza.

Residents of Gaza also receive support from the United Nations, which provides food aid for most Gaza Arabs and primary education to many of the area's children. In addition, many countries have sent aid to Gaza through international organizations in an attempt to bypass Hamas.

Abbas mentioned PA aid to Gaza in the context of reconciliation talks between Hamas and his own Fatah party. He blamed Hamas for the talks having stalled. The head of Abbas' negotiating team for the Fatah-Hamas talks accused Hamas of delaying talks on Tuesday, and accused the terrorist group's leaders of “talking like the Israelis.”

Abbas also discussed, in the interview, the stalled Israel-PA negotiations. He again rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request that the PA recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, claiming that by doing so, he would open the door for Israel to discriminate against Israeli-Arabs and other non-Jews. (Polls show that many PA Arabs would prefer to live under Israeli control than under PA rule.)

Meanwhile, Abbas plans to define a PA state in Judea and Samaria as “Palestinian,” and has stated that no Jews will remain in any territory under PA control.

He expressed satisfaction with the Obama administration's stance on Israel, saying that the United States has come closer to supporting the PA position. The PA and the Arab world should continue to focus on de-legitimizing Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, instead of putting its efforts into terrorism, he said.