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“Moderate” Abbas Signs Deal with Hamas

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The press calls him a “moderate,” yet the agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas Monday in Qatar is anything but the deal of a moderate. The agreement makes Abbas the interim president of a consensus government between the Palestinian Authority and the terrorist group Hamas. Being heralded as a long sought-after reconciliation,  Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas, signed the agreement Monday in Qatar, in the presence of another “moderate,” Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

“Reconciliation is in the Palestinian and Arab national interest,” Abbas said, adding that he and his Fatah movement “did not sign this agreement for show … but because we plan to implement it.”

In reference to Israel, Abbas said the Palestinians now needs to "devote all our power to confronting the occupying enemy."

In response to the agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remarked, "I say to Abu Mazen (Abbas), you cannot grasp the stick at both ends. It is either peace with Hamas or peace with Israel, you cannot have both."

Noticeably different was the United States reaction. "As we've said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Abbas also recently appointed released terrorist Gen. Mahmoud Damara to be his advisor in Abbas' office in Ramallah. Damara was one of the leaders of the Fatah Force 17 terror unit and initiated numerous shooting and bombing attacks against Israeli civilians. Damara was released in October as part of an exchange to free Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas in 2006 and held in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas also allocated $5 million to the 1,027 terrorists released in the Schalit deal. Abbas'  Palestinian Authority is primarily supported through millions of dollars in donor money from the United States and the European Union.

The current agreement between Abbas and Hamas calls for a government of “independent technocrats” to oversee reconstruction in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and to “facilitate the implementation of presidential and parliamentary elections.”

A senior Fatah official told AFP news agency that the new government would be announced in Cairo on February 18 at a meeting between the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership and all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

"On the 18th of this month in Cairo, there will be a final declaration on the formation of the new government to be headed by president Mahmud Abbas," Azzam al-Ahmad said.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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