Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have complained to the emir of Qatar during their recent meetings in Doha about Hamas’s attempt to stage a coup against his regime in the West Bank.
The Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar published on Monday what it said was the protocol of the meeting between Abbas and the emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was invited to join the meeting at a later stage.
The protocol quotes Abbas as telling the emir that Hamas has been working to foil and bring down the PA ever since its establishment.
“[Former PLO leader Yasser] Arafat invited them [Hamas] to join the Palestinian Authority and the 1996 elections, but they refused and said that democracy is forbidden because it is the rule of the people, while we Hamas want the rule of Shari’a,” Abbas was quoted as saying. “They issue fatwas as they like and use religion to serve their interests.”
Abbas said – according to the protocol – that each time he meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz the latter tells him that Mashaal is a “liar.”
The protocol quotes Abbas as accusing Hamas of being behind the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last June in order to “strike at the Palestinian national project.”
Abbas was quoted as saying: “When I asked Mashaal [about the murder of the three youths] he replied: ‘I don’t know.’ Then he told me, ‘I neither deny nor confirm.’ Lies and beating around the bush.”
Abbas pointed out that top Hamas operative Saleh Arouri, who is based in Turkey, later confirmed that his movement had been behind the kidnapping and murder of the youths. “This means that Turkey approves of it,” Abbas added, according to the protocol. “Hamas’s goal is to destroy the West Bank and create chaos in order to stage a coup against us. Hamas wants to drive me crazy. Since the kidnapping of [IDF soldier] Gilad Schalit they have been contacting the Americans and Israelis and Europeans and others. They have been doing things behind our backs.”
The protocol quotes Abbas as disclosing that the head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) visited him in Ramallah two weeks ago and briefed him about Hamas’s plan to stage a coup in the West Bank.
Abbas claimed that Arouri and a Jordan-based Hamas operative nicknamed Jawad were behind the alleged coup.
He said the head of the Shin Bet told him that Israel has the weapons and knows about the tunnels that were being prepared to stage the alleged coup.
“Why do they want a coup?” Abbas was quoted as telling the emir of Qatar. “Where’s the partnership between us? Where are we headed? Why this Iranian method of taqqiyah [religious dissimulation]?” He noted that in 2006 Hamas had tried to assassinate him by placing explosives along the route his convoy used in the Gaza Strip.
The protocol also quoted Abbas as saying that Hamas had been conspiring with ousted Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan to topple him. Dahlan has since been expelled from Fatah and lives in the United Arab Emirates.
“I know them well,” Abbas said, referring to Hamas.
“They have no relation to Islam, from their highest ranking sheikh to the youngest of them. Many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, asked me to marginalize Hamas and were opposed to my reconciliation deal with it.”
According to the protocol, the emir at this point tells Abbas: “Frankly, you have provided information whose source is Israel. It must be correct.”
The protocol quoted Mashaal as telling Abbas and the emir of Qatar that he had informed Arouri that he made a mistake when he took credit for the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli youths.
Mashaal also denied the claim that Hamas had planned to stage a coup against Abbas.
“I wish to say in front of the emir of Qatar that the claim is a one-million-percent lie,” Mashaal was quoted as saying.
“Form commissions of inquiry and have Qatar participate. If anything is proved, I’m prepared to bravely apologize to the Palestinian Authority. But if it is proven to be a lie, I want Abu Mazen [Abbas] to come out and say that Israel is lying.”