Mahmoud Abbas causes deeper division

In his speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Thursday 27th September, Mahmoud Abbas directed some strong words towards the leaders of Hamas. He claimed to have made an agreement with them on the 12th of October last year – an agreement that would lead to a single Palestinian government carrying out its responsibilities in Gaza and in the West Bank.

The President of the Palestinian AuthorityMahmoud Abbas

That, he said, would enable his people to build their state on the basis of unified law, unified authority, a unified regime and only one single legitimate armed force. Then he claimed to reject the idea of militias, the route pursued by Hamas, and said that the Egyptian-brokered agreement has not been accepted.

His comments prompted a wave of accusations in the media between Fatah and Hamas, whose official statement said that:

`By describing the resistance as a militia and terrorist group before the UN and refusing its arms,
Abbas stabbed the Palestinian people, their history, resistance and martyrs … in the back.`

Thus the prospects of peace with Israel have taken another blow, as the division between these two major groups seems wider than ever. This means that Israel still has no real partner for peace, no one group in authority with whom to negotiate.

He also railed against the USA for their halt to funding for UNRWA and their attempts to identify how many genuine refugees there are from the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948.

Along with many others, Abbas continues to cling to the story that the refugees were all forced out of their homes during the conflict. But detailed accounts of that period in history reveal that many of them fled at the prompting of Arab leaders, who claimed that the people would be able to return to their homes within a few weeks once the Jews had been defeated.