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Israel has three years to end the occupation — Abbas

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For weeks Palestinian leaders have warned they are prepared to sign letters joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israel for war crimes. Despite the divide in government between the West Bank and Gaza, there is consensus among all Palestinian groups in favor of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the criminal court. At the height of Israel’s ground invasion during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza Palestinian legislator Dr. Hanan Ashrawi announced that letters had been drafted.

Yet curiously Palestinian officials have held back on filing the paperwork without explanation. President Mahmoud Abbas has now said the delay in sending the letters to the United Nations (UN) was at the request of American officials who are still attempting to broker a “framework” for negotiations with Israel aimed at creating a Palestinian state.

In a leaked transcript of a conversation between Abbas, and senior Fatah and Hamas officials, mediated by the Emir of Qatar, Abbas said he was pressured not to send the letters by the United States during Secretary of State John Kerry’s bid for parties to return to talks.  While the meeting is an illumination on the inner workings of Palestinian political strategy as it’s being hashed, the transcript is also useful if not just for the behind the scenes look at the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

The conversation took place on August 21, 2014 in Doha. A copy of the meeting minutes was published in Arabic by the Lebanese outlet Al Akhbar earlier this week.

“We agreed to the United States’s request to not go to the United Nations in return for the release of [Palestinian] prisoners,” Abbas said to the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. “After the failure of the experience of 20 years of negotiations, Israel and America have not given us anything,” Abbas later complained to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. The U.S. was “dragging their heels” during the negotiations process.

After the failure of the experience of 20 years of negotiations, Israel and America have not given us anything,” Abbas later complained to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. The U.S. was “dragging their heels” during the negotiations process, – See more at:
After the failure of the experience of 20 years of negotiations, Israel and America have not given us anything,” Abbas later complained to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. The U.S. was “dragging their heels” during the negotiations process, – See more at:
After the failure of the experience of 20 years of negotiations, Israel and America have not given us anything,” Abbas later complained to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. The U.S. was “dragging their heels” during the negotiations process, – See more at:
But the Israelis have refused to release fourth installment to stop settlement activity, and we failed. So we decided to reconcile with Hamas […] and the formation of a national unity government. Israel refused to deal with it, – See more at:“After the failure of the experience of 20 years of negotiations, Israel and America have not given us anything,” Abbas later complained to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. The U.S. was “dragging their heels” during the negotiations process.

Moreover, the rendezvous concluded with the Beirut-based head of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk confidentially signing the letter for Palestine to join the ICC.

Abbas: Israel has three years to end the occupation

The Palestinian president went on to state that his main political project will be announcing a timeline for Israel to end the occupation and to accept “a Palestinian state on the ’67 borders, and East Jerusalem as its capital.” If Israel fails to do so, Abbas said he will “cease security coordination with Israel,” forcing Netanyahu’s hand to re-instate the occupation as it was before the Oslo Accords and “bear the responsibilities as an occupying power.”

Under international law, occupying states are required to underwrite expenses for public services. Those expenses were transferred to the Palestinian Authority after Oslo. Today Palestinian Authority public salaries cost around $200 million per month and any delay in incoming funds immediately translates to wage freezes and protests across major West Bank cities.

Abbas then told Mashal  he conveyed this approach to ending the occupation “within a specified time frame” in early August to the Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yuval Steinitz, who was then instructed to inform Netanyahu directly. Following suit, on Thursday Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat (who was also present during the Doha meeting) did tell American officials in a two-hour meeting with Secretary Kerry that Israel has three years to depart from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. As well, the PLO revealed a timetable for Israel to militarily withdraw from the Palestinian territories acquired in the June 1967 war.

On Tuesday, Dr. Ashrawi reiterated at the United Nations in New York much of what was communicated in the private discussion in Doha. “We need a clear commitment to the 67 boundaries and to the end of the occupation –the Israeli occupation–within a specified timeframe, not open ended.” Dr. Ashrawi continued that the Palestinian delegation “will be seeking a Security Council resolution on ending the occupation within that specified date. And any solution must be based on international law, cannot violate international law.”

Dr. Ashrawi added, “The American funding is not that essential to Palestinian survival.” Of course American funding was essential to the survival of the Palestinian Authority when John Kerry pledged $4 billion in early 2013, which at the time was speculated as the Palestinian government’s price-tag for returning to negotiations with Israel. Today there are no other balloon sources of funding expected from American officials, and the Palestinian Authority continuously teeters on bankruptcy. Europe also is tightening their belt. Since Oslo they gave the Palestinian Authority roughly $7.3 billion (€ 5.6 billion), and now they are auditing the Palestinian government.

“Quite often joining the international community, having the protection of the law, and so on is much more important than getting some funding from Congress that is conditional,” continued Dr. Ashrawi, signaling that Palestinian officials understand the Oslo era donor commitments from the West will no longer continue as they had in the past. As such, Palestinian commitments that were tied to their donors can duly be tossed.

Palestinian national unity amid ‘Hamas’ kidnapping of three Israelis, and an assassination attempt

The Doha transcript reveals the tenuous threads and triangulations that define Hamas’s and Fatah’s relationship today: eight years after an internal mini-war and the purging of government ministers. Despite misgivings, Abbas and Mashal made commitment to implement a single strategy of pressuring Israel through the UN, and backing popular resistance, which both leaders have suppressed until the latest war in Gaza.

“We are at a crossroads in a single vessel,” said Saeb Erekat to the two leaders. Still the divisions that Abbas and Mashal are in the process of overcoming in forging a national unity government are also personal. Hamas tried to have Abbas killed, and he hasn’t forgotten.

Just before the Hamas delegation walked into the room Abbas told Shiekh Tamim, “In 2006, they [Hamas] set up explosives in the street, they wanted to blow me up.” Then Abbas passed him a computer disk of evidence showing Hamas made attempts on his life years ago. “They also dug a tunnel that reaches under my house in Gaza,” he said.

Abbas reminded Sheikh Tamim of the “open secret” assassination attempts against him because two weeks before, the Israeli Intelligence Minister told him the Israeli army thwarted an attempted coup d’état against the Palestinian president, planned by Hamas. The Israeli official told him they arrested 93 members of Hamas involved in the scheme.

The coup d’état story is murky; Mashal called it an Israeli “novel” that is “a million percent false.” Hamas’ political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk added, “The fact is that the coup happened against Hamas,” referencing Fatah’s purge of Hamas ministers from the West Bank government. Still Abbas wanted answers. His words reflected a man unmoved by assurances that the Israeli reports were “incorrect.” He asked about weapons that the Israeli army seized. He was shown reports that they were intended “not against Israel, but against us.”

After some protesting Abbas temporarily accepted that Mashal was not trying to oust him, or have him killed. The former foes committed to move beyond their pasts of distrust. “I do not accept that walking into a partnership where there are doubts,” said Mashal, “I do not want to go back to the past with all of its aspects,” agreed Abbas.

One of the issues that is revealed in the transcript is the limitations of Hamas’s leadership to control members in other countries and small groups of supporters outside of Gaza. Mashal is adamant that there was no attempted coup yet he was careful to promise to personally issue an apology on behalf of Hamas if the allegations later prove to be accurate. This lack of absolute knowledge over all activities of all branches of Hamas was equally reflected in a conversation regarding a rogue Hamas official announcing that the group was responsible for kidnapping and killing three Israeli youths in June, setting off a series of events that included the largest Israeli military operation in the West Bank in over a decade and the war in Gaza that killed over 2,000 Palestinians.

Before Mashal walked into the meeting, Abbas said outright, “Hamas kidnapped settlers in order to sabotage and strike at the project of the Palestinian Authority.” Yet when the matter came up with Mashal, the leader of Hamas insisted they were not behind the kidnapping, nor did they have any information regarding the status of the three Israeli youths, nor did they approve of any claim of responsibility. Israeli intelligence, the confession of one of the kidnappers and other reports in the case all point to a low-level group of ideologues in a Hamas-affiliated family as the perpetrators of the abduction, but no connection to the party’s leadership.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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54 Responses

  1. just on September 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Good to read your work again, Allison.

    Kudos on Gareth Porter’s inclusion of your reporting in his most recent article.

    Abbas should not be trusting us. At all. He needs to side with his people now more than ever and that includes Hamas.

    “So what should Israel do? The beginning of wisdom is to admit mistakes and stop adding fuel to the fire. First of all, Israel should end its relentless campaign to demonise the people of Gaza. Demonisation is the enemy of dialogue and a major cause of diplomatic deadlock. The assertion of Major General Giora Eiland that there is no such thing as “innocent civilians” in Gaza is simply absurd. Gazans are normal people and, like normal people anywhere in the world, they long to live in freedom and dignity on their land.

    Second, it is time to remove from Hamas the terrorist tag. This is a powerful weapon in the propaganda war but useless in the quest for peace. Hamas is indeed guilty of terrorism but it is also a legitimate political actor, having won a fair and free election in 2006. Netanyahu claims that Hamas is indistinguishable from the murderous fanatics who make up Isis. Hamas, however, is not a messianic jihadist movement but a local organisation with a pragmatic political leadership and limited aims.

    Third, Israel should transfer its confrontation with Hamas from the battlefield to the conference table. On 2 June Hamas and Fatah reached an accord and formed a national unity government which consists of technocrats without a single Hamas-affiliated member. This government accepts the Quartet’s three conditions to qualify as a negotiating partner: it recognises Israel, it respects all previous Palestinian agreements with Israel and it renounces violence. One of Netanyahu’s undeclared war aims was to disrupt this unity government so Israel could continue to divide and rule, but the government survived the baptism of fire”

    Abbas needs to do the very same thing wrt Hamas and Gaza.

  2. joemowrey on September 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

    There is a special place in hell for people like Abbas. A traitor, not just to his own people, but to the notion of humanity in general.

    • bilal a on September 7, 2014, 6:45 pm

      His is a colloborator along with sisi. Its hypocritical to single out Israel and leave out the PA and Egypt:

      BDS Boycott Egypt
      Egypt and Israel: United in a common cause?
      The one time enemies talk trade, tunnels and what they see as terrorism at a time of heightened tensions.

    • tod77 on September 8, 2014, 4:06 am

      He is corrupt, but to say he is a traitor is harsh, in my opinion.
      He has acted against Hamas, just as Hamas have acted against Fatah. He has simply been more successful at doing so because of his Israeli backing.
      In the end, corruption aside I believe he has acted in the interests of the Palestinian people, just as Hamas – but with a different strategy. You can argue with that strategy, but the fact is that neither the strategy of Hamas or the strategy of Fatah have been very successful against Israel and its European and American military and political backing.
      In the end, unity should be the most important goal of both sides at the moment. Doing otherwise will only help the long term Ariel Sharon disengagment plan.

      • Shingo on September 8, 2014, 4:51 pm

        In the end, corruption aside I believe he has acted in the interests of the Palestinian people

        Rubbish. He has acted in his own interests. The reason he is holding up the ICC application is because it would mean the end of the money to him and therefore the end of him reign.

        During all the wars in Gaza, he was silent and crushed demonstrations against Israel. The is worse than a traitor.

  3. annie on September 7, 2014, 1:09 pm

    i’m having a serious deja vu

    Palestinian officials have held back on filing the paperwork without explanation. President Mahmoud Abbas has now said the delay in sending the letters to the United Nations (UN) was at the request of American officials who are still attempting to broker a “framework” for negotiations with Israel aimed at creating a Palestinian state.

    isn’t this what happened last year? w/one serious caveat. last year palestine agreed not to go the the ICC for 9 months as well as exchange for engaging in negotiations for palestinian state as well as israel agreeing to a prisoner release. months into the 9 months period, this got morphed into merely a framework for a palestinian state. and that framework didn’t even include a requirement israel submit a border proposael! which would be negotiated in ‘final status’ issues.

    so all that failed, and now the same thing is on the table again, only this time they are not even suggesting this negotiation be for the state, but still another “framework”. i mean really, what a broken record! and by then there will be a new american prez and for all we know abbas won’t even be alive. i mean really, this is too much.

    • just on September 7, 2014, 1:21 pm

      I had been trying not to criticize Abbas for a long time now, but have to agree with this being ‘too much’! The proverbial last straw.

      Paging Dr. Mustafa Barghouti.

    • tidings on September 7, 2014, 1:58 pm

      Annie–I don’t know if anything in this article is helpful to explain Abbas’ procrastination?

      • Blownaway on September 7, 2014, 2:30 pm

        It’s very helpful. In poker it’s called drawing dead and he’s bluffing. In three years there will be nothing left. It’s now or never really and even though he acknowledges that he’s gotten nothing in over 20 years he’s still listening to the puppet master the US, it’s not just the Obama administration or the Likud. It’s every administration and every party in Israel

      • bilal a on September 8, 2014, 3:49 am

        Israel-Egypt (with Saudi backing) has another 2 state solution , a Uganda for Palestine:

        Sisi Offered Abbas: Create Palestinian State in Sinai
        Palestinian Authority chief rejected offer by Egypt to create a state 5 times the size of Gaza, give up 1967 borders.

      • Walid on September 8, 2014, 7:32 am

        Of course Israel and the US would agree in relocating all the Gazans to the Sinai that would have Israel ending up with all the Gaza offshore gas fields and beaches. It’s an absurd balloon being floated by an Israeli paper.

      • annie on September 8, 2014, 3:09 pm

        i agree with blownaway tidings. even tho i know this is all a repeat i think abbas is positioning, and for whom? for US/israel? check out the latest:

        The unity government between Hamas and Fatah could be in danger.

        Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a tenuous unity deal with Hamas, but Hamas says he’s being unreasonable.

        On Sunday Abbas accused Hamas of running Gaza unilaterally, while the unity government “can’t do anything on the ground.”

        “We won’t accept a partnership with them if the situation continues like this in Gaza, where there is a shadow government… running the territory,” Abbas stated, according to WAFA news agency.

        The remarks are the latest volley in a long-standing rivalry between Hamas and Abbas’ own faction, Fatah.

        Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri rejected Abbas’ criticisms.

        “It is untrue, baseless and unfair to our people,” he stated, according to AFP.

        Commenting on Facebook, Zuhri said Hamas remains committed to the unity government, and will hold new talks with Fatah in the near future to get the reconciliation agreement back on course. Hamas is currently enjoying a boost in popularity, according to the latest poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR).

        this has been israel’s goal all along, to break them up. and they do not want elections.

      • Taxi on September 8, 2014, 3:26 pm

        Nice bit of israeli propaganda you’re referencing there, bilal.

        Every now and then the zionist pull out the old ‘Palestine is Sinai’ malarkey. Why on earth would Egypt do this? What does it get out of it? LOL! If you wanna see another revolution break out on the streets of Egypt, just you be the leader who gives a chunk of Egypt away. No-siree, there never ever was such an ‘offer’, nor will there ever be.

        Yeah, well… bilal badly wants to believe, I guess.

        Here’s a link to hundreds of articles on this latest hasbara “fabrication”:

        Now reverse the dastardly rumor and start saying that Egypt has offered the Sinai to israel if it would give historic Palestine back to the Palestinians but israel stupidly refused the stellar offer of the century. I mean, if israel thinks the Sinai is such a good deal, why doesn’t it take it itself? It’s approx 3 times larger than the holy land…… Except…. It’s all arid desert. Well, I say since the israelis keep bragging about how they’re so good at ‘making the desert bloom’, absolutely, give them Sinai – absof*ckinglutely give the desert to isreal!

        And let Palestine be Palestine in peace.

  4. Marnie on September 7, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Abbas seems to me like a confused, beleaguered and frightened elderly man. That he would forgo the ICC and bow to american pressure/promises (all bullsheet) and believe the israeli’s makes him look very foolish. I’d be freaked out a bit being in the same table with someone who tried on a few occasions to have me killed, but can that also be said about the israelis and americans? If Hamas is going to continue to be called a terrorist organisation then so should the state of israel and the united states – nobody’s hands are clean. So children, wash those dirty mittens and get on to some negotiations.

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 7, 2014, 1:59 pm

    The Lebanese paper Al Akhbar got hold of the minutes of last month’s meeting between Abbas, Meshaal and the Emir of Qatar. Makes for interesting reading – Abbas accuses Meshaal of launching a coup against his puppet rule in the West Bank.

    Abu Mazen: I do not say it is over. I want answers. We agreed on popular resistance and negotiations. They started war in 2012, which had nothing to do with us! How? And why?

    al-Hayya: The problem is that you believe anything. How did we start a war when we were the ones dying? Who told you we started the 2012 war? Wasn’t it them who killed [Hamas military leader Ahmed] Jabari? Now the war had started in the West Bank and then spread to us [in Gaza], correct? You want us not to defend ourselves?

    Abu Mazen: You started it in the West Bank, not Israel.

    Meshaal: Israel started it in the West Bank.

    Abu Mazen: No, it wasn’t Israel. Israel wants to destroy us before you, but I am keen on not giving it a pretext to do so. I have put Israel in a corner politically.

    • Shingo on September 8, 2014, 5:01 pm

      I have put Israel in a corner politically

      Yeah the mouse that roared. Israel are shaking in their boots.

      Listen to Abbas, he sounds like a Right wing Zionist.

  6. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 7, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Abbas is a quisling. That has been known for many years. It now seems clear that Meshaal is little better. As with Arafat, the lure of oil and gas money has proved difficult for him to resist.

  7. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 7, 2014, 2:09 pm

    Here’s a funny cartoon showing the silliness of Abbas’ repeated ‘threats’ to take Israel to the ICC.

  8. American on September 7, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Abbas has to be replaced.
    If Gazans are willing to be killed by Isr for freedom then Abbas and the WB can take a $ money hit for it.

    • tod77 on September 8, 2014, 4:14 am

      Do you get more points by dying? – and then when you reach a certain number of points you get freedom?
      If the west bank loses $ will that give them freedom?
      I think the situation is more complicated by that.

      Abbas should be replaced. That is obvious – but by who?

      • Walid on September 8, 2014, 7:26 am

        Mustafa Barghouthi.

      • Justpassingby on September 8, 2014, 10:00 am

        I would say PA needs to be removed in total so palestinians could free itself from traitors.

      • American on September 8, 2014, 2:49 pm

        ” tod77September 8, 2014, 4:14 am
        Do you get more points by dying? – and then when you reach a certain number of points you get freedom?
        If the west bank loses $ will that give them freedom?
        I think the situation is more complicated by that. >>>>>>

        Its not complicated.
        With Abbas Palestines get 3 more years of Israel moving them off their land.
        Going to the ICC only means losing the US funding……which I think some Arab countries would replace.
        The Palestines choice is go to the ICC and suffer the financial consquences or dont go to the ICC and still suffer the financial and other consquences that come from being slowly or not so slowly turned into dispossed refugees.

  9. Kay24 on September 7, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Abbas must stop being so naive, and stop trusting the US on this. Is he so gullible that he keeps trying to please the US, while Israel keeps breaking international laws, waging wars on the Palestinian people, keeping this brutal occupation going, and all the time announcing more and more illegal settlements. Is he so dense that he cannot read the writing on the wall?
    The US is complicit in all Israel’s crimes, aids it, arms it, and protects it always at the UN.
    So what he been promised that he keeps putting off appealing to international bodies and ask for the rights of the Palestinian people? THREE YEARS is too long, really. This disgusting occupation should have ended years ago, and the Israelis do not need that much of time to end the occupation. The apartheid nation does not need that much time, and the more time the US gives them, they more land and other resources will be stolen.

    If I was Abbas, or the Palestinians, I would not trust the US to be the honest broker in trying to negotiate a peace deal.
    Seeing how much we are controlled here by Israel, and how much we keep dancing to their tune, I cannot see how any nation can trust us to work in a neutral manner, and NOT show preferential treatment for Israel. Everything we do will be according to Israeli demands.

    It is time Abbas faced reality and did what is best for HIS people. The US and Israel be damned.

    • Kay24 on September 7, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Time for that edit button and feature Mondoweiss.

    • Abierno on September 8, 2014, 3:41 pm

      Abbas position is very difficult. For those of you who know David Cohen, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism Funding, he has been adamant that paying the long past due salaries of of Hamas civil servants, which Qatar has offered to pay, is funding terrorism. Prior to the most recent Gaza war, Lieberman called out Robert Serry who was trying to identify a correspondent bank through which to channel the 20 billion dollars. Cohen and his US and European colleagues have threatened (and have to power to do so) to crash the Palestinian banks if the Hamas civil servants are paid. This financial warfare, rarely makes it into either the media or blogs. If the Palestine banks are crashed, then Israel simply pockets the millions they collect in tariff duties for Palestine, since Palestine no longer has any correspondent banks with which to work: They are collectively shut out of Israeli, US and European banks. This is the financial leverage with which US/Israel pummels Abbas. Interdicting Palestinian banks means total collapse of the Palestinian economy (already on life support), and massive additional suffering for the Palestinians of every stripe and political belief.

      However, consider this: The BRICS have started their own version of the IMF: the BRICS Development Bank, which within the next two years should be a strong and powerful
      anodyne to the IMF, the Israeli banks, the US Federal Reserve and the Euro banking system.
      Also, given the US disastrous financial sanctions on Russia, there is a high likelihood that the dollar will no longer be the international reserve currency (Many oil deals are, as we speak, being consummated in the ruble, the yuan and gold). Under these circumstances the value of the dollar and the shekel which is tied to the dollar can be expected to plummet. The result – Abbas, who has recently returned from Russia, allies with the BRICS, and Egypt which is moving into their sphere, as is the Arab League. A hollowed out US is far less powerful in the Security Council and a viable Palestinian state becomes a far more likely possibility. Although I know little of foreign affairs, I would suggest that Abbas, Meshaal, Erekat and other are reading the tea leaves and know that with tectonic shifts in the international financial structure which will greatly disadvantage the US, they have far more leverage since the strongest BRICS players have considerable Islamic populations (Russia, China, India) and could gain considerable political leverage from a fair resolution of the Palestine/Israeli issue.

      • Rusty Pipes on September 8, 2014, 8:08 pm

        The financial challenges for a Palestinian Unity government is a byproduct of the Israel Lobby’s work in our Legislative and Executive branches. Congress mandated that an office be created in Treasury to deal with “terrorist funding.” Congress also defines “terrorist” organizations not by what they do, but by whose enemies they are. Consequently, Hamas and Hezbollah, which have not targeted American civilians, are designated as terrorists and governments like Syria and Iran are designated as State sponsors of terrorism, whereas other organizations or governments which are our friends, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have sponsored groups that target Americans, are not. These groups and nations have been squeezed through various economic sanctions. Even if the money were readily available to Abbas, he would have difficulty finding a way to fund the backpay for Hamas-related civil servants in the Gaza strip without encountering American-enforced penalties.

  10. seafoid on September 7, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Giving the bots a time limit is a great idea. It’s not like they have anything to offer to stave the evil day off.

  11. gracie fr on September 7, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Bad idea….more of “divide and conquer” with the “Assassination Plot” business, and stall for more “land grab” during the three year wait-and-see period….

  12. gracie fr on September 7, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday accused Hamas of running a “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip and said that the unity government between Hamas and the PLO must assert its authority in the besieged coastal enclave. Speaking to a group of Egyptian journalists and scholars in Cairo on the first day of a three-day visit, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority “would not accept the situation in Gaza to continue as it is now and in this shape.”

    “There are 27 undersecretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said, referring to the officials of the former Hamas government who continue to maintain power in Gaza despite an April agreement that led to a government of national reconciliation between PLO and Hamas.
    The statements came after a presidential guards commander told Ma’an that Palestinian Authority forces were preparing to begin staffing the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, currently maintained by Hamas.

    A senior commander who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ma’an Saturday that PA presidential guards had already prepared a list of officers to take charge of security arrangements at the terminal and at the Philadelphi Corridor along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

  13. just on September 7, 2014, 4:33 pm

    Even worse news:

    “The new Palestinian unity government faced a new crisis on Sunday after President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to dissolve his alliance with Hamas if the Islamic militant group does not give up power in the Gaza Strip.”

    much more lousy stuff here:

    • Kay24 on September 7, 2014, 5:41 pm

      Sounds like Abbas is getting pressurized by the US/Israel. Beebs tried fracturing Hamas and the Unity government by killing over 2000 civilians, and they still remain standing. Most probably the US is asking Abbas to rein in Hamas, or get rid of them, a condition for further peace talks perhaps. Beebs looks like a loser in many ways. His war has backfired and his popularity has plunged after the war. Serves him right.

  14. Shingo on September 7, 2014, 4:35 pm

    The only explanation I can fathom for Abbas’s stonewalling tactics is self interest. He wants to hang on to power and privilege till the last minute.

    I have no doubt he is being bribed behind the scenes to keep the charade going. When it finky collapses, he’ll be on a plane to some luxury destination to live out his life is style while the Palestinians are left with nothing.

  15. concernedhuman on September 7, 2014, 6:04 pm

    Its time for Abbas to sign off. Abbas is a puppet forced on Palestinians to force US/Israel agenda on palestinians.

    Abbas does not represent Palestinians as he is not elected by the majority . He has no right to make major decisions for palestine on behalf of Palestinian people.

    West loves democracy and loves to spread it in middle east but not in Palestine?
    There should be elections held in palestine and that will decide who will be the next leader.

  16. Boomer on September 7, 2014, 8:16 pm

    “Abbas said he was pressured not to send the letters by the United States . . . ” Why do we continually, year after year, act to support the oppressor rather than the oppressed? What a tragic role for the U.S.

    BTW: can we no longer copy and paste items, such at the words I retyped above, which used to be easy to do?

    • seafoid on September 8, 2014, 12:47 am

      It’s annoying, isn’t it ?

      • tod77 on September 8, 2014, 4:18 am


    • Cal3bg on September 8, 2014, 1:35 am

      I think we can see now why Abbas has the support of the U.S. while Hamas doesn’t. They know he would never stand up against them.

    • Justpassingby on September 8, 2014, 9:58 am

      You can copy, however you dont see the typical blue “coverage” over the text. Just try.

  17. Cal3bg on September 8, 2014, 1:32 am

    This is beyond sickening to hear. If Abbas was paying any attention whatsoever, he would realize that in 3 years time there won’t even be a West Bank to negotiate over!
    And why should his ppl be able to come and take control of Gaza… So they can be pushed into an even tinier piece of land than what they are already on? After all Abbas can’t even stop them from destroying houses and building Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank where he has power. This man is a U.S. puppet he has to be. He’s going to hold off because of more intervention from America?! Wtf is wrong with you?! America’s leadership has no interest in doing what is right for Palestinians nor is it interested in there ever being a Palestinian state. If Abbas dissolves the unity government with Hamas, then he has basically allowed Netanyahoo to win.

  18. Justpassingby on September 8, 2014, 3:57 am

    Haha and there are folks here that deny that abbas is a puppet?!

    • Walid on September 8, 2014, 7:21 am

      Only one and he sincerely believes that things spiraling out of control are always beyond his responsibility; in short, there’s always an American or Israeli gun pointed at his head and things are always happening to the hapless man.

  19. Shingo on September 8, 2014, 4:18 am

    Things are going from bad to worse. Abbas is now threatening to dissolve the unity government – this after Hamas gave up pretty much all control under the unity agreement. Now Abbas us turning the screws citing that the PA are not being allowed to fully operate on the ground.

    Where was the PA a month ago when Israel were bombing Gaza. It’s a pity that Hamas didn’t success in taking out this self serving slime ball.

    • Kay24 on September 8, 2014, 8:18 am

      Yes, what is going on here? To me it seems Abbas is doing what Israel wants, to break the Unity government, one of the main reasons to wage that bloody war on Gaza.

      Abbas might try to be the moderate voice from Gaza, but he seems to be giving in to the occupier, and pleasing the US.

  20. NickJOCW on September 8, 2014, 4:38 am

    Three years is too long unless that would be the date for completion with successive monitored stages from start to finish, like the removal of the Syrian chemical weapons. Abbas is too old, the situation is too static. Time for Fate to roll its dice.

    • NickJOCW on September 8, 2014, 5:40 am

      I’ve been brooding on this and I really think it is the most sensible, practical and compassionate solution. It restores the 2 state objective, defines the borders and allows Israel time to relocate the illegal occupants which was always a concern because driving them out as they did/do Palestinians is obviously not on the cards. Furthermore, one day, when we are all dust, the peoples of the area may come together as they have in the past, reserving perhaps a single Orthodox Jewish enclave as a centre for international Jewry similar to the Vatican which also once ruled extensive territories and had exceptional influence over distant leaders.

  21. Robert Brooks on September 8, 2014, 10:40 am

    Ms. Deger A very informative piece…and with content almost unavailable in the US. Abbas is very troubling: ineffective, conflicted, and prone to political prostitution. The vast majority of Palestinians realize that unity is the sine qua non for any substantive progress.

    I have been active , spending two months yearly, in East Jerusalem and Gaza since 2002 with a think tank ( as a writer/editor. Could I have your Jerusalem/West Bank contact info?

    [email protected]

    • just on September 8, 2014, 11:22 am

      IPCC is an impressive organization.

      Thanks for your work with them.

  22. iResistDe4iAm on September 9, 2014, 10:27 am

    Oslo Accords target for comprehensive peace agreement: 1999
    Roadmap for Peace target for final settlement: 2005
    New unilateral target to end the occupation: 2017

    Watching Abbas humiliate himself again: PRICELESS

  23. Talkback on September 9, 2014, 12:30 pm

    This is interesting:

    “At Arab meeting, Abbas publicly lashes out at Hamas

    … Abbas also argued that only 50 Hamas members were killed during the just-ended Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, while 861 members of his Fatah movement were killed during the war. …”–at-arab-meeting-abbas-publicly-lashes-out-at-hamas

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