Hamas Calls On Abbas To Measure Forces in Elections
Mahmoud Zahar, a senior leader of Hamas, challenged on Wednesday Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to measure his popularity in the streets of Palestinians in elections. The move comes after 477 Palestinians were freed on Tuesday as part of a deal agreed by Israel with Hamas in exchange for the soldier Gilad Shalit who was released from Hamas custody and reunited with his family. 550 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are expected to be freed over the next months as part of the deal.
The Palestinian prisoners, most of them people who have fought against the state of Israel, were received in Gaza and the West Bank as heroes by the people. The most dangerous 40 of them were taken by Turkey, Syria and Qatar, at the request of Israel, which doesn’t want to see them back in the streets of the Palestinian cities again.
The released prisoners were received by some 500,000 people in Gaza, which boosted the confidence of the Hamas, which is disputing its political leadership with Fatah.
Zahar invited Abbas to participate in elections and measure his popularity, but also stressed out that the Shalit deal is not about to undermine the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, agreed in Cairo earlier this year, and accepted by Abbas to the purpose of staging the way for national elections.
The Hamas leader said that Abbas is the one who disrupted the agreement with Hamas at the request of the Americans for the sake of the bid for statehood he has made by the UN Security Council in late September.
He called on Abbas to renew their agreement and to abandon the “two-state solution” and the bid by the United Nations. He warned that Hamas would not sell the right of future generations, speaking of the provisions referring to the right to return of the Palestinian refugees as they are comprised in the two-state solution.
Hamas has always opposed the UN bid for statehood, fearing the legal implications such a move could have for the fate of the Palestinian refugees who abandoned their lands when the Israeli took them over.
Last Sunday, Zahar said that Mahmoud Abbas would not have been able to cut a deal with Israel for the release of so many Palestinian people. “Abu Mazen,” he said, “has negotiated a million years and obtained no such deal.”
His comments were made to underline the idea that the deal was a political victory for Hamas, one that is being criticized by the political rivals for failing to have the senior prisoners released, and for having more Hamas than Fatah members of the prisoners list agreed with Israel.
On Wednesday, the armed faction of Hamas announced that Gilad Shalit would not be the only Israeli soldier they would kidnap, and that the releasing from prison of the rest of the Palestinians has become the organization’s top priority.
He alluded by that to the possibility of kidnapping other soldiers from Israel and then release them at the same price as the one for Shalit.
The leader of the armed faction of Hamas said that the victory they obtained was historical but that it was mixed with sorrow because they were not able to save all the Palestinians that are being held prisoners in Israel.
Jewish media showed on Wednesday that the prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who greeted Shalit as he came home from Egypt and who sealed the deal with Hamas, was not always so inclined to accept the prisoners swap. In a book published in 1995, the Prime Minister called the prisoner swaps a mistake that Israel has made over and over again.11