Abbas: Hamas Unity Deal 'Frozen'

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said unity with Hamas is going nowhere; and issued 'demands' for financial support to the Arab League.

Gabe Kahn ,

Hamas leader Mashaal and PA's Abbas in Cairo
Hamas leader Mashaal and PA's Abbas in Cairo

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the reconciliation deal between his Fatah faction and Hamas is going nowhere.

"Unity is frozen," said Abbas, who is in Baghdad to attend the Arab League summit.

Abbas said he had agreed "on many points" with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal during their meeting in Qatar in February.

"We agreed on the vision and objectives and conditions in full," Abbas said. "I confirm that Mashaal was honest and we were ready."

But "some Hamas leaders rejected the agreements reached in Doha," he said in a clear reference to Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders in Gaza who blocked the deal.

"The ball is now in Hamas' court," Abbas said, adding that Qatar "knows all the finer details."

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo last May to end years of rivalry, but the deal repeatedly stalled over who would run a new unity government.

Abbas and Mashaal agreed in Doha that Abbas himself would take the post of prime minister, but Hamas leaders in Gaza made additional demands.

Those demands left Hamas in complete control of Gaza, while giving the terror organization significant power in PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria as well – conditions unacceptable to Abbas.

Meanwhile, Abbas said he hoped for political support from regional leaders at the Arab League summit, the first in Iraq for more than two decades.

"We hope the summit will adopt calls for emotional, political and financial support for Palestine and particularly Jerusalem," Abbas told AFP.

The PA has found itself strapped for cash and teetering on the edge of insolvency amid a deepening economic crisis as donor nations - including Arab states – routinely refuse to honor their pledges.

Ramallah's budget, which far outstrips the capacity of its local economy to support, is heavily dependent on foreign donations to survive.

Abbas told The Associated Press late Wednesday by telephone from Baghdad that "there are demands related to financial support, especially supporting Jerusalem... because the PA is in a difficult financial situation."