The Palestinian Authority on Monday ridiculed Hamas’s request to take control of
the West Bank.
Senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk made the proposal
in response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s threat to
dismantle the PA and hand the area over to Prime Minister Binyamin
Abbas was quoted last week as saying after meeting with Meretz
chairwoman Zehava Gal-On in Ramallah that if there was no progress in the peace
process, “I will take the phone and call Netanyahu and tell him: ‘Sit in the
chair instead of me; take the keys and you will be responsible for the
Abu Marzouk, in a posting on Facebook on Monday,
wondered: “Why does Abbas want to hand the keys over to Netanyahu? Why not hand
it over to Hamas?” Abu Marzouk, who will turn 62 on January 9 and is slated to
replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas, said it would have been “better and
more effective had Abbas threatened to hand the West Bank to
Hamas’s success in remaining “steadfast in the face of the
blockade [on the Gaza Strip] and the wars it led [against Israel] qualified it
to run the West Bank successfully,” he said.
Fatah officials in the West
Bank reacted angrily to Hamas’s suggestion.
Jamal Muheisen, a member of
the Fatah Central Council, said the Palestinians should first hold presidential
and legislative elections to choose their leaders.
“Whoever wins in the
elections will be handed the keys of the entire Palestinian Authority, be it
Hamas or Fatah or any other Palestinian faction,” Muheisen said.
accused Hamas of conducting secret negotiations in an Arab country to reach
agreement with Israel over the establishment of a Palestinian state with
temporary borders in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.
The Fatah official claimed
that the negotiations were being held under the auspices of the
“Hamas is seeking to establish its own emirate while leaving the West
Bank as cantons that are separated by settlements,” Muheisen
“Hamas’s goal is to foil the establishment of a Palestinian
state on all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”
He added that
Abbas’s threat to hand authority over to Israel came in response to former
foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s statements against the PA president and the
“economic blockade” imposed by Israel on the PA.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf also condemned Hamas for
offering to take over the PA in the West Bank.
“How can Abu Marzouk and
Hamas agree to rule the West Bank while settlement construction is continuing
there?” Assaf asked. “How can Hamas agree to a state without Jerusalem and the
right of return for Palestinian refugees? Does Hamas want to cover up for
Israeli occupation and the Judaization of Jerusalem and Islamic holy sites?
Like Muheisen, Assaf also claimed that Hamas was conducting secret talks with
Israel about the establishment of a temporary Palestinian state.
has been no comment from Israeli officials.