Hamas denies Abbas allegations that group misusing Qatar funds

A series of important meetings will take place in the coming days, including one of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO).

October 9, 2018 08:57
2 minute read.
Hamas denies Abbas allegations that group misusing Qatar funds

PA President Mahmoud Abbas looks on during a reception ceremony for Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Ramallah, in the West Bank, March 22, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)


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A Hamas spokesman has stated that his organization is not benefiting from a recent donation from Qatar to the Gaza Strip, claiming that the money is intended to ease the plight of the civilian population.

“The funds that came from Qatar through international associations are directed to the Gaza power plant in a move to partially ease [the burden] on Gazans in terms of electricity,” Hazem Qassem told The Media Line. “Hamas has absolutely nothing to do with the money.”

Qassem also denied accusations by Palestinian Authority leaders that the armed group was attempting to circumvent the PA, calling them “lies.” He clarified that Hamas had invited the Palestinian leadership to take control of Gaza more than once, however, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was instead imposing sanctions on the territory.

On Saturday, Fatah's Central Committee met and affirmed its rejection to the "suspicious projects" and "conspiracies aimed at settling the Palestinian cause." Following the meeting, Abbas announced that a series of additional meetings—the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, Revolutionary Council, ending with the vital meeting of the Central Council, scheduled for October 26.

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Some UNRWA foreign staff members leave Gaza for safety reasons, October 2, 2018 (Reuters)

Abbas confirmed that all decisions determined in the Central Council will be implemented.

“The meeting will focus on the American bias towards Israel and also the Palestinian relation to the Israeli occupation and how to deal with it," Muneer al-Zuhob, head of Fatah’s Mobilization and Recruitment Media Office, explained to The Media Line, adding that, "Palestinian reconciliation [is also on the agenda] and all options are open with Hamas." Al-Zuhob emphasized that the PLO is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and therefore any attempts “by Israel, the American administration and other international parties” to bypass the Palestinian leadership is tantamount to “tampering” with the Palestinian national project. He suggested that any such efforts would be considered a “fundamental obstacle to internal Palestinian affairs” geared towards separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

When asked about alleged Israeli assistance in transferring Qatari aid-money to the blockaded enclave, al-Zuhob said that while Fatah had no confirmation of the news, if it were true then Doha would be considered part of the plot against the Palestinian cause.

In a tweet, Israeli Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni heavily criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what she described as “diverting funds to Hamas so it can pay its members’ salaries.” She contended that the Israeli government’s threats were “empty of substance” and accused Netanyahu of strengthening Hamas in return for its temporary silence.

At a closed-door meeting last month of the PLO’s Central Committee Abbas called for an increase in “popular resistance,” raising the specter of a potential outbreak of clashes in the West Bank.

However, Jordanian political analyst Moeen al-Taher shared with The Media Line his belief that the upcoming meetings would not result in any decisions against Israel or the US administration.

“It’s likely that there will be escalating decisions against Hamas but I think Palestinian leaders will oppose them,” he said.

Al-Taher highlighted the fact that Abbas keeps making threats without taking any practical steps on the ground. “Abbas constantly uses the formula of ‘if they [the Israelis] don’t commit to, we [Palestinians] will react with…,’ without any implementation in real life.”

He concluded that unless Abbas actually moves to modify security and economic coordination with Israel then it will be "business as usual.”

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