Mahmoud al-Zahar
Mahmoud al-Zahar Flash 90

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed on Sunday that Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas favors an Israeli operation in Gaza for his own political interests, i24news reported, citing PA media.

“Abbas wants to control everything in Gaza, war is good for him,” charged al-Zahar, who is currently in Cairo as part of a large delegation from Gaza led by Hamas leader Salah al-Arouri for continued talks with Egyptian officials over a reconciliation deal with Abbas’ Fatah faction as well as a peace plan with Israel.

He also said the violent “March of the Return” riots along the Gaza border will continue until they achieve their goals.

“The Marches of Return will not end, no matter how much pressure they put on us,” al-Zahar stressed.

Egypt had been brokering ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel in recent months, though those talks appeared to have broken down last week.

The PA has repeatedly criticized the Israel-Hamas talks. One report said that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas had threatened to cut all contact with Israel, should the Jewish state reach a ceasefire agreement with the Hamas terrorist organization.

Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas have been at odds since 2007, when Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Fatah.

Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal last October, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December 1.

That deadline was initially put back by 10 days and had later reportedly hit “obstacles”. Attempts to get the sides back to the negotiating table have failed.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)