Hamas members at an anti-Israel rally in Rafah in southern Gaza, November 13, 2014. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Monday as claiming that Israel and Hamas have been conducting direct negotiations to expand the Gaza Strip so that it would include some 1,000 square kilometers of Sinai.
Abbas, who is currently visiting Cairo, told Egyptian journalists who met with him on Sunday night that the idea of slicing off land from Sinai to expand the Gaza Strip was first proposed by ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Abbas said that he knows the names of the Hamas and Israeli negotiators, but did not mention them. He said that former British prime minister and Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair is supervising the purported negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
Abbas told the journalists that he opposes the idea of annexing any part of Sinai to the Gaza Strip.
Abbas was quoted as saying that he supports a “peaceful” popular uprising against Israel. He also repeated his charge that Israel is “desecrating” the Aksa Mosque and carrying out “summary executions” of Palestinians.
In response to Abbas’s allegations, Hamas leaders denied that they have been conducting negotiations with Israel. They also denied the claim that Hamas wants to annex parts of Sinai to the Gaza Strip.
“There are no negotiations with the Zionist entity and we won’t recognize it,” said Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk. “We are seeking a state from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”
Another senior Hamas official, Ziad al-Thatha, said that Abbas has lost his legitimacy as president of the PA and no longer represents the Palestinians.
He said that Abbas is behaving like a “clown.”