Hamas: Abbas ignored Palestinian aspirations

Maan News Agency | Sept 23, 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas said Friday that President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposals to the United Nations failed to address Palestinians’ aspirations, party spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

The official told Ma’an that by recognizing Israel and seeking UN membership for a Palestinian state on 22 percent of historic Palestine, Abbas “decreased” Palestinians’ rights.

“The solution is to go back to comprehensive national dialogue and to achieve reconciliation and unite the Palestinians,” Barhoum said.

Abbas submitted a bid for full UN membership to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday for a state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, signed a reconciliation agreement with Abbas’ Fatah party in May, but formation of a unity government has stalled over a leadership row.

The mood among the Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip contrasted starkly with the West Bank, where celebratory fireworks, loud cheers, whistles and applause erupted as Palestinians watched Abbas make the biggest speech of his presidency.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said earlier Friday that Palestinians should not beg for a state. Liberation of Palestinian land should come first, he said.

Without a guaranteed “right of return” to land lost in the 1948 war which led to the creation of the Jewish state, “what is happening at the United Nations harms the dignity of our Palestinian people”, Haniyeh said.

The outcome and potential side-effects of Abbas’s statehood bid are far from clear.

“He (referring to Abbas) depressed us, I was expecting more. I was expecting him to say that if peaceful resistance fails, there would be armed struggle,” said Hakim Abu Karsh, a lawyer living in Gaza.

Another Gaza resident, Mohammad Antar, said that the speech was very emotional.

“The speech showed strong emotions, was convincing, strong. Palestinian people should react, locally and in the diaspora,” he told Reuters.

Palestinians in Gaza, unlike their West Bank residents, gathered inside homes and cafes to watch Abbas speech.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that despite the fact that Abbas’ speech accurately described Palestinian suffering, it failed to provide the proper solutions.

“Abbas’s speech was an emotional one that succeeded in describing Palestinian people’s suffering but he failed in determining the solutions when he tied his going to the United Nations with negotiating with the Israeli occupation despite his stressing that negotiations have failed in the past,” he said.

The United States has vowed to veto the move at the Security Council.


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