update deskOctober 7

Fatah accuses Hamas of ‘Nakba’ worse than Israel’s creation

"Whoever caused Israel’s reoccupation of the Gaza Strip... does not have the right to dictate national priorities," said Mamoud Abbas's Fatah faction.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas visit Odwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 8, 2006. Photo by Ahmad Khateib/Flash90.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas visit Odwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 8, 2006. Photo by Ahmad Khateib/Flash90.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction has accused Hamas of causing “a catastrophe more horrific and cruel than the catastrophe of 1948 [Israeli independence]” as its Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev resulted in the IDF’s current military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Friday’s statement came amid ongoing unity talks between the two groups.

Earlier on Friday, Hamas had derided Abbas’s “individual” decision to appoint economist Mohammad Mustafa as the P.A.’s prime minister. Mustafa replaces Mohammad Shtayyeh, who announced his resignation on Feb. 26, along with that of his entire administration.

Mustafa is tasked with reforming the P.A. and rebuilding Gaza after the war. Hamas said that they were not consulted on the move, despite a recent meeting of the factions in Moscow to resolve long-standing differences.

At the Moscow meeting at the end of February, the rival groups stated that they would seek “unity of action” in confronting Israel. Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorist groups also participated in the summit.

“In light of the Palestinian Authority’s insistence on continuing the policy of exclusivity, ignoring all national efforts for Palestinian unity, and uniting in the face of aggression against our people, we express our rejection of the continuation of this approach that has harmed and continues to harm our people and our national cause,” Hamas said in a statement to Reuters.

In response, Fatah was cited by the P.A.’s official Wafa news agency as saying that “whoever caused Israel’s reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, and caused the ‘Nakba’ [‘catastrophe’] that the Palestinian people are experiencing, especially in the Gaza Strip, does not have the right to dictate national priorities.”

The statement continued, “Fatah expressed its astonishment and disapproval at Hamas’s talk of exclusivity and division, and wonders whether Hamas consulted the Palestinian leadership or any Palestinian national party when it made its decision to undertake the adventure of last October 7, which led to a catastrophe more horrific and cruel than the catastrophe of 1948?”

Fatah also accused Hamas of being beholden to the regime in Tehran at the expense of the Palestinians, and scolded its leadership for living lives of luxury in Qatar while people suffer in Gaza.

Fatah criticized “the actions and practices of the Hamas leadership and its behavior towards the genocidal war, noting that it seems that the comfortable life that this leadership lives in seven-star hotels has blinded it to what is right, wondering why most of Hamas’s leaders live abroad, and why they and their families fled and left the Palestinian people to face … a brutal war of extermination without any protection.”

On Feb. 12, Abbas traveled to Doha at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led body for Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Following Abbas’s trip, Hamas reportedly approved a three-step plan leading to “complete reconciliation” and the Islamist terrorist group joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the P.A., under a “unified Palestinian-Arab vision.”

On Saturday, Abbas held a phone consultation with the Qatari emir about the situation in Gaza, according to Wafa.

“His Excellency, and the Emir of Qatar, expressed the necessity of working to stop the aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, the complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, stopping all unilateral actions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the importance of worshippers reaching Al-Aqsa mosque [during Ramadan],” Wafa reported.

They also discussed ways to continue the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, and to prevent further displacement of the population in Gaza.

The United States wants the P.A. 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.

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.

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 Authority,” said spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

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.

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