In an Aug. 29 interview to the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi, Zahar
dismissed Abbas' eight-month campaign to visit the Gaza Strip and address
its 1.7 million Palestinians. Zahar, regarded as the leading political
figure in the Gaza Strip, said Abbas' visit would not promote reconciliation
between Fatah and Hamas.
Zahar said Abbas could come under an assassination threat by former PA security
chief Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan, twice expelled from the West Bank over the
last nine months, has been accused by Abbas of plotting a coup against the
"There are no arrangements by Abu Mazen [Abbas] to visit Gaza, and in my
opinion it is not wise that he come under these circumstances," Zahar said.
Zahar said Abbas was nearly killed by Fatah dissidents in 2004 when he
arrived in the Gaza Strip to mourn the death of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Zahar said two people were killed in a gun battle outside a mourner's tent
visted by Abbas.
In May, Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement that
included the formation of a national unity government. The two movements
have failed to reach agreement, and Zahar said recent meetings have focused
on the release of political detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Zahar also dismissed the PA campaign to win international recognition
for a Palestinian state this month. He warned that Abbas has no
mandate to bring foreign troops, including those from NATO, as an interim
force until any Israeli withdrawal.
"The experience of international forces, whether in Egypt or NATO,
failed," Zahar said.