Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Sunday launched scathing attacks on US Secretary of State John Kerry and accused him of working to appease Qatar and Turkey at the expense of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
The officials also criticized Kerry for failing to invite representatives of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to last weekend’s meeting in Paris to discuss a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
Protesting against the participation of Qatar and Turkey in the Paris parley, senior Palestinian officials warned against attempts to “bypass the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”
Walid Assaf, a former PA minister, pointed out that “this was the first meeting to discuss a Palestinian issue without Palestinian participation.”
Qatar has become the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Assaf said with a tone of sarcasm.
“This was the conference of the friends of Israel.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction said in a statement: “Those who want Qatar or Turkey to represent them should leave and go live there.” The statement is directed against Hamas.
The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted an unnamed Palestinian official as saying that Kerry was trying to sabotage the Egyptian cease-fire proposal by offering his own plan.
The official said that Kerry’s intention was to appease Qatar and Turkey.
The official also accused Kerry of working to “exploit the war in order to restore the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.”
According to the Palestinian official, the Americans “wrongly believe that moderate political Islam, represented by [the] Muslim Brotherhood, would be able to combat radical Islam.”
The official said that Abbas was furious with attempts to “tamper with Palestinian blood and make it hostage to regional rivalries.”
Zahira Kamal, secretary-general of the Democratic Union, one of various organizations belonging to the PLO, said that the Paris conference had “non-national goals,” because of the absence of Palestinians and Egyptians.
“The PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians,” Kamal said. “The PLO is the only decision-maker that reflects the will and interests of the Palestinians.”
Another PLO figure, Ahmed Majdalani of the Front for Popular Struggle, said that the Paris meeting reminded him of meetings sponsored by the US and its allies under the title “Friends of Syria.”
Majdalani said that these meetings have only served to prolong the war and destroy Syria.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf was quoted by the PLO’s official news agency Wafa as saying that the Paris gathering was primarily directed against Egypt.
Assaf attacked Kerry’s effort to give Qatar and Turkey a role in solving the crisis while sidelining Egypt. He also denounced Kerry’s failure to invite Palestinian representatives to the meeting.
Kayed al-Ghul, a senior representative of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that what happened at the Paris conference was “very dangerous and threatens the future of the Palestinian cause, especially following the reconciliation agreement [between Hamas and Fatah].”
Referring to the participation of Qatar and Turkey, al-Ghul said that the Palestinians did not authorize anyone to speak on their behalf at the Paris conference.
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