Abbas, Mashaal, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There are no differences between Fatah and Hamas because the two parties have
reached agreement on a joint political platform and a truce with Israel,
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday.
that the period of calm would be not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the
West Bank,” Abbas said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.
“We also agreed
on a peaceful popular resistance [against Israel], the establishment of a
Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and that the peace talks would continue
if Israel halted settlement construction and accepted our
Abbas said that there are no real “political differences”
between Fatah and Hamas.
He said the recent decision to postpone the
formation of a Palestinian unity government, as envisaged by last month’s
Qatari-brokered reconciliation deal, was taken due to a dispute within
“We took the decision at the request of [Hamas leader] Khaled
Mashaal, who said that this was not the appropriate time to talk about a unity
government because of the dispute [within Hamas],” Abbas said. “I still don’t
know what is going on inside Hamas.”
Abbas said he agreed to head a unity
government because he was hoping to solve a problem and not because he wanted
“I agreed with Mashaal on the issue of the prime minister, who
backed the idea,” he added. “I agreed to serve as prime minister because it was
supposed to be a transitional government dominated by technocrats whose mission
would be to prepare for new elections and rebuild the Gaza Strip.”
said that neither he nor Mashaal expected his nomination to create controversy
“But if this is going to create a problem, I have no
problem backtracking,” he said. “I have no problem backtracking and I'm not
insisting on it,” he explained. “I’m the president and I’m not lacking in new
The PA president reiterated his intention not to seek
reelection when and if new presidential elections are held in the Palestinian
Abbas said that although he was “depressed because we are
losing Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque,” he still was hopeful about the prospects
of reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He pointed out that
132 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, while another 107 supported
Palestinian membership in UNESCO.
“It’s true that we are losing time and
that Israel is winning time for building settlements,” Abbas said.
in the end there is no other path. We say to Israel: Whether you build or don’t
build, the settlements are originally illegitimate.”