Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Doha on Monday at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led government for Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Sources told the Saudi-based Asharq News network that Abbas and Sheikh Tamim were scheduled to discuss plans to establish a “government of technocrats” whose main priority would be the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the wake of the Israel Defense Forces’ war against Hamas terrorists there.
The proposed government would be headed by Mohammad Mustafa, an Abbas loyalist who currently serves as the chairman of the P.A.’s Palestine Investment Fund, but could also include Hamas officials.
Asharq News reported that Sheikh Tamim agreed to relay Abbas’s proposal to Hamas officials following Monday’s meeting in Doha.
Qatar, which hosts Hamas leaders and has provided the terrorist group with hundreds of millions of dollars, played a large role last year in mediating the release of Israeli hostages. It has previously deflected accusations of playing a double game, saying the U.S. requested that it open that mediation channel.
A spokesperson for Hamas told the outlet that while it welcomes cooperation with the P.A., the terrorist group demands to be consulted on “every step,” including the members of the prospective government.
According to the P.A.’s official Wafa news agency, Abbas during the meeting called on the international community to stop what he called a “war of extermination from the Israeli killing machine” in Gaza.
Wafa said Abbas stressed the need for the “intervention of the international community, especially the U.S. administration, to oblige Israel to stop its rabid war against the Palestinian people.”
The United States wants the Palestinian Authority to assume control of Gaza after the war against Hamas ends, a move that Israel vehemently rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has insisted that an “effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority” should ultimately govern the Strip.
During a Jan. 10 meeting in Ramallah, Blinken pressed Abbas on “administrative reforms, which, if implemented, would benefit the Palestinian people.” Sky News Arabia described the tête-à-tête as “tense” and marked by “arguments.”
On Jan. 27, Abbas’s spokesman told Al Arabiya television that the P.A. is prepared to hand over the reins to Hamas after the conflict. Ramallah is “prepared to hold general elections, and if Hamas wins, the president will hand over the [Palestinian] Authority,” spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.
The U.S. State Department has refused to rule out Hamas retaining power in Gaza or even joining a P.A.-led governing body that would also have jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria.
According to Palestinian polls, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor an authority controlled exclusively by Abbas’s Fatah faction.