PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Hamas on Tuesday denounced statements made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Lebanese television in which he said that he has the right to choose the prime minister of the Palestinian unity government, specifically mentioning current PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad.
RELATED:Netanyahu urges Abbas to cancel Fatah-Hamas unity deal'Most Latin American nations rethinking PA's UN bid'
Fatah and Hamas's failure to agree on the identity of the new prime minister has led to the indefinite postponement of the establishment of the unity government. Fatah continues to insist on the appointment of Fayyad, while Hamas says it would never sit together with him in any government.
Hamas website Al-Qassam quoted organization spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri as calling Abbas's quotes "unnecessary media escalation.”
In the interview with LBC television, Abbas said that he has the right to form a government that represents his policies, saying he would take responsibility for its failure.
Abu Zuhri said that the PA president's statements were false and harmful
to efforts to Palestinian unity efforts. He said that the new
government must be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council, a
body dominated by Hamas, according to Al-Qassam.
The Hamas spokesman also objected to Abbas saying that he does not order
political arrests against those that oppose his policies.
Abu Zuhri accused the Palestinian Authority president of persecuting Hamas members and supporters in the West Bank.
Abbas also addressed the diplomatic process
with Israel in the LBC interview, saying that the United States has the power to stop the
Palestinians from taking their bid for a state to the United Nations in
"I don't know if the United States has other options," he said, "but if
they put them in our hands, we will not go to the UN," he said.
During the interview, Abbas said he believed that of the 192 voting
nations in the UN, 116 are currently ready to recognize a Palestinian
state. However, he said, if the United States was able to bring a return
to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the bid
could possibly be reconsidered.
Referring to the current deadlock that has prevented the very
negotiations he said he aspires to, Abbas listed borders and security as
the two major sticking points. Above all, however, was the status of
Jerusalem, an issue about which Abbas appeared intractable.
"If Jerusalem will not be the capital of Palestine," he said, "there will be no state at all."
Abbas said he only met with Netanyahu three times in the past two years,
which amounted to only about fifteen hours of direct conversation
between the two men. He also told LBC that he did not plan for a third
term as Palestinian Authority president when expected elections are held
As for the possibility of a third Intifada should both negotiations and
the UN bid fail, Abbas dismissed the idea. "Armed struggle is destroying
us," he said of the Palestinians.