Report: Abbas fails in reconciliation bid with Hamas, tensions with Egypt rise

by WorldTribune Staff, October 31, 2016

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas failed in his attempt to reconcile with Hamas and to resolve inflamed tensions with Egypt, a report said.

An Oct. 27 meeting between Abbas and top Hamas leaders in Qatar made no progress toward ending the long-running split between the PA and Hamas, according to senior officials who spoke to Middle East Eye.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal and his deputy Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar capital Doha, Oct. 27. /WAFA news agency
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Hamas political chief Khaled Masha’al and his deputy Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Oct. 27. /WAFA news agency

Dr. Khalil al-Hayeh, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said that Abbas “clung to his old positions and showed no flexibility in the meeting.”

Abbas stuck to his formerly stated positions on the security apparatus, salaries of Hamas-appointed employees, border crossings, elections, and the legislative council, an official told Middle East Eye.

The Gaza Strip has been controlled by Hamas since 2006.

Meanwhile, Abbas’s recent trip (to Turkey and Qatar) did not include a stop in Cairo, which the officials said suggested lingering tensions with Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi.

One Hamas official, who spoke in condition of anonymity, said he believed that Abbas “came to Doha and Istanbul just to send a message to Egypt that he is not isolated and he has good ties with regional players.”

The relationship between Abbas and Sisi has deteriorated in recent months, with Abbas objecting to what he has called “Egyptian intervention in Palestinian affairs.”

Egypt has reportedly led efforts to press Abbas to bring exiled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan back into Palestinian politics. Dahlan enjoys the regional support of the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. UAE leaders are said to have told Saudi Arabia that Dahlan is a strong potential successor to Abbas.

Abbas plans to hold a Fatah party convention by the end of November, which he is expected to use to block Dahlan’s return.