PA invites Hamas, Islamic Jihad to meeting on Israeli 'annexation'

Gaza factions warn Israel not to implement plan

PA PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – ‘He makes threats and engages in fiery rhetoric as part of a strategy to appease the Palestinian public.’ (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
PA PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas – ‘He makes threats and engages in fiery rhetoric as part of a strategy to appease the Palestinian public.’
The Palestinian Authority has invited representatives of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to attend a meeting of the Palestinian leadership to discuss Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.
Hamas and PIJ, which don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, have repeatedly called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to walk away from the 1993 Oslo Accords and cut all ties with Israel. They have also called for stepping up “resistance” activities in the West Bank in response to protest the Israeli plan.
Palestinian officials said that representatives of the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist group that is also opposed to the Oslo Accord and peace talks with Israel, have been invited to attend the meeting, which will take place in Ramallah on Saturday.
Earlier this year, Abbas invited Hamas and PIJ officials to attend a meeting of the Palestinian leadership to discuss US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, also known as the Deal of the Century.
The PLO Executive Committee is expected to hold a meeting on Thursday – the second of its kind in the past week – to discuss action against the plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, expected to take place on July 1.
Last week, the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee met in Ramallah to discuss the “dangers of the Israeli annexation plan” amid growing pressure on Abbas to carry out his recurring threats to renounce all signed agreements with Israel.
At the meetings, Abbas told the PLO and Fatah officials he would take measures against Israel and the US in response to the “annexation” plan, implying that he would cut all ties with Jerusalem and Washington and walk away from the agreements (with Israel).
The decision to invite Hamas, PIJ and PFLP officials to the upcoming meeting of the Palestinian leadership aims to send a warning message to Israel and the Trump administration, a senior PA official said. “The president wants to show that there’s a consensus among Palestinians regarding the annexation plan,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.
Hamas and PIJ did not immediately respond to Abbas’s invitation, and it was unclear whether the PFLP would attend the meeting. Unlike Hamas and PIJ, the PFLP is one of a number of groups forming the PLO.
The official told the Post that he expected Hamas and PIJ would accept the invitation.
In recent weeks, PFLP officials accused Abbas of cutting PLO funds to their group, dubbing the move “political extortion” and “piracy.” The officials claimed that Abbas was seeking to punish the PFLP because of its opposition to his policies, especially continued security coordination between the PA security forces and the IDF in the West Bank.
PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani said that Saturday’s meeting would be significant because of the participation of various Palestinian groups. Majdalani told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that participants would discuss a number of measures the Palestinian leadership would take in response to the “annexation” plan.
Sabri Saidam, member of the Fatah Central Committee, confirmed that Hamas and PIJ representatives have been invited to attend the Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah. Saidam told Voice of Palestine that the Palestinians would “pursue their struggle to achieve all their rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.”
Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed said that representatives of all Palestinian factions have been invited to Saturday’s meeting. The Palestinian leadership, he added, has devised a plan to respond to respond to the “annexation,” and it will be discussed during the meeting.
Al-Ahmed said that details of the Palestinian response will be announced after the meeting. Israel and the US administration would bear the full consequences of the situation in the aftermath of the “annexation” plan, he cautioned in an interview with the Gulf online media outlet Erem News.
The Fatah official estimated, however, that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to visit Israel this week, would try to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz to postpone the plan due to the threat it poses to the situation in the region.
Ahead of the planned meeting, several Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip called on the PA to halt security coordination with Israel.
The call came during came during a rally in Gaza City on Tuesday, where representatives of the factions also appealed to Palestinians in the West Bank to launch a “popular uprising” against Israel.
Talal Abu Tharifeh, a senior official with the PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said in a speech at the rally that the Palestinians need to endorse a “comprehensive national strategy to stand against the Israeli schemes.”
He urged the PA to implement previous decisions of PLO and Fatah bodies to cut all ties with Israel, including security coordination, in response to the policies and measures of the Israeli government and Trump administration. Abu Tharifeh also called on the PA to lodge “war crime” charges against Israel with various international forums, including the International Criminal Court.
Hamas official Ashraf Zayed, who attended the rally, warned Israel against implementing its plan to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Northern Dead Sea and settlements.
“We warn the occupation that the annexation decision will cause it grave damage,” Zayed said. “Our people won’t allow this kind of conspiracy to pass. This step will lead to reactions that the occupation won’t be able to control.”