Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for an Arab League Foreign Ministers emergency meeting at the league's headquarters in Cairo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Speaking to Egyptian journalists in Cairo on Saturday night, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that “only 50 martyrs belonging to Hamas” were killed during Operation Protective Edge.
Abbas revealed that 861 Fatah members were killed during the operation, but did not say how they died or who killed them.
Armed groups belonging to Fatah claimed during the war that they, too, had been involved in the fighting against the IDF and the firing of rockets at Israel.
However, Abbas said that “more than 120 youths were killed for violating the curfew and house arrest orders issued against them,” apparently referring to reports that Hamas had targeted hundreds of Fatah members during the military offensive.
Hamas also executed without trial 30 to 40 Palestinians on suspicion of “collaboration” with Israel, according to Abbas.
The Fatah Central Committee recently accused Hamas of placing more than 300 Fatah members under house arrest during the war. It also accused Hamas of shooting dozens of Fatah men in the leg for violating the house arrest orders.
If Abbas’s figures are true, that means that nearly half of the 2,100 Palestinians reportedly killed during the 50-day war were Hamas and Fatah members.
Hamas is responsible for the killing of more than 120 of the 861 Fatah members, according to Abbas’s figures. He did not say how the remaining 736 Fatah members were killed.
The assumption is that these Fatah members were part of armed groups who were involved in the fighting and rocket attacks on Israel.
Abbas’s figures contradict those published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which claimed that seven in 10 Palestinians killed during the war were civilians.
The UN figures mean that 69 percent of the total killed in the Gaza Strip were civilians.
By contrast, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted recently as saying that “approximately 1,000 terrorists” had been killed by the IDF.
In other words, Netanyahu and Abbas seem to agree that nearly half of those killed were not civilians.
Hamas officials responded to Abbas’s allegations by urging him to stop “inciting” against their movement.
Abbas’s statements show that he has “lost his political role,” said Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official. The PA leader was behaving in a manner that “does not suit a president,” he said, adding that Abbas should “leave such polemics to spokesmen.”
Bardaweel also denied the charge that Hamas has its own “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip and accused Abbas of “misinformation.”
The Hamas official refused to comment on Abbas’s announcement that only 50 Hamas men were killed during the war in the Gaza Strip.
“Even Israel still doesn’t know how many Hamas men were martyred,” he said. “Abbas is now trying to provoke us so that we would say something that he could relay to the occupation.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri rejected Abbas’s charges as “unjustified,” and dismissed as “baseless” the figures provided by the PA president concerning the number of casualties in the Gaza Strip.
He called on Abbas to stop communicating with Hamas through the media and give a chance to dialogue and understanding between the two sides.