Khaled Mashaal
Khaled MashaalReuters

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is trying to cool the tensions in his group’s relations with the Palestinian Authority and its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas spoke to Arab journalists in Cairo on Saturday night, warning that the unity deal he sealed with Hamas in April is on the brink of collapse.

Speaking in the wake of Operation Protective Edge which Hamas initiated with a rocket onslaught, Abbas said that "if the government will not be unified, (in terms of) the weapons and laws in the West Bank and Gaza, there won't be any partnership or discussion with the (Hamas) organization."

"I don't trust Hamas much because they change their words all the time. There must be a unified Palestinian Authority," remarked Abbas.

The PA chairman also confirmed reports of a stormy meeting he had with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar on August 21, in which he slammed the Hamas leader for his organization's coup attempt against Abbas in Judea and Samaria.

"You are smuggling weapons, explosives and money to the (West) Bank - and not to fight Israel, but to hold a coup against the (Palestinian) Authority," Abbas reportedly said in his tirade on Mashaal.

Responding to Abbas’s remarks in a speech of his own at a Hamas rally in the Lebanese city of Sidon, Mashaal said that Palestinian leaders must rise above their differences, unite behind the interests of the Palestinian Arabs and work together.

In addition, Masahal called for the Palestinian leadership and to act promptly to convene the interim leadership of the PLO and settle the dispute over the meeting place.

Hamas and Fatah formed a unity government several months ago after years of tension following Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza in 2007.

However, there have been multiple reports over the past several months that the unity government itself has been slowly crumbling.

Differences of opinion have surfaced over several issues, including the war in Gaza, reactions to the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and the delayed payment of wages for government workers in Gaza in the weeks leading up to Operation Protective Edge.