Abbas fails to sway Hamas on US plan

PA chairman equally unsuccessful with Islamic Jihad and PRC factions.

Abbas and Haniyeh (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas and Haniyeh
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has failed to persuade Hamas and most Palestinian factions to accept the latest US plan for easing restrictions on Palestinian movement and improving security for Israel. It also has been rejected by some of Abbas's top aides and political allies. The plan calls for setting a time frame for "benchmark" moves, including Palestinian action against groups that are firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip and having Israel ease travel restrictions. Abbas on Sunday praised the US plan. "The American document, which the Palestinian leadership has received, included important steps to achieve security in the Palestinian territories," he said. "The plan was a first step toward easing the suffering of the Palestinian people. We call on the Israeli government to accept it." Abbas, who is in Gaza City for talks with Hamas leaders, failed to convince PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to accept the plan, a senior Palestinian official told The Jerusalem Post. "Hamas does not want to change its position regarding the American plan," he said. "They are convinced that this is a new American-Israeli conspiracy against Hamas." The Hamas-led government, which met in Gaza City, rejected the plan, saying Palestinians' national rights could not be "traded" for free movement of people and merchandise. The government expressed deep concern over the continued international sanctions and the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their promises to provide financial aid to the Palestinians. It warned that the sanctions were threatening stability in the region. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum reiterated his movement's opposition to the plan, saying its goal was to "dwarf" the Palestinian issue. Two radical groups in the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, issued statements warning the Palestinian leadership against accepting the US plan. Opposition to the plan also came from some of Abbas's colleagues in Fatah. Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, urged Abbas not to accept it.