Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday hosted a virtual conference attended by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in which Fatah and Hamas underlined their rejection of the US-backed normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

"We cannot accept anyone speaking in our name. We have never allowed it, and we will not allow it, ever," Abbas said, as quoted by the AFP news agency.

"We will never accept the United States as the sole mediator for negotiations (with Israel), and we will not accept its plan" for a peace settlement, said Abbas, calling for Palestinian "unity" in the face of Washington's strategy.

The meeting was the first since 2013 bringing together Abbas and Haniyeh -- albeit virtually, rather than in the same room.

Haniyeh also called for a united front via videoconference from Beirut.

"We must restore our national unity, put an end to division and establish a unified Palestinian position... to confront projects directed against our people," said the Hamas chief, according to AFP.

Both the PA and Hamas condemned the Israel-UAE deal after it was announced, with Hamas saying that it "does not serve the Palestinian cause."

A spokesperson for Hamas accused the UAE of having "stabbed Palestinians in the back" by agreeing to recognize the Jewish state.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PA official, blasted the UAE for agreeing to the deal, dubbed the Abraham Accords, tweeting: "May you never be sold out by your 'friends'."

In a final communique released after Thursday’s talks, the Palestinian factions announced they had approved the creation, within five weeks, of a joint committee to organize "the popular resistance" and "put an end to the divisions" between themselves.

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