Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dissolve the new unity government if Hamas does not give up power in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas told reporters in Cairo that he cannot accept the current situation in Gaza. He said if Hamas will not accept one central authority, “we will not accept partnership with it.”
Ismail Radwan, a Hamas leader, denounced Abbas’ comments, saying they contradict the spirit of the new partnership.
Then, at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday, journalists were told to leave a meeting of its foreign ministers shortly after Abbas started addressing the group.
No reason was given for the media blackout which extended to a live broadcast of the speech as well.
Before the session was closed, Abbas started talking about the bloody “coup” that Hamas staged in the Gaza Strip against the PA in 2007. He recalled that attempts to achieve reconciliation between his Fatah faction and Hamas had failed over the years.
At this point, about 30 seconds into his speech, an Arab League official walked up to Abbas and handed him a note that asked him to stop talking until journalists were out of the hall.
There had been reports in the Egyptian media quoting Abbas as saying that he was going to use the forum to declare the end of his reconciliation pact with Hamas.
Abbas also scoffed at Hamas’s claim that it had won the war with Israel. “Which victory are they talking about?” he asked.
He also ridiculed Hamas’ rocket attacks at Israel during the war. “They fired 4,000 rockets that killed three Israelis,” Abbas said.
Abbas was also quoted during the meeting with the Egyptian journalists as saying that the Fatah Central Committee has suspended all contacts with Hamas until it agrees to recognize one authority that represents all Palestinians.
“If Hamas does not accept the establishment of a Palestinian state with one government, one law and one weapon, there will be no partnership between us,” he explained.