President Mahmoud Abbas disclosed on Tuesday evening that he has told Western countries what he calls “the truth of the matter” in the region, including that what occurred last 30 June in Egypt “was a popular revolution”. He also noted that the negotiations with the Israelis over the past few months were fruitless and achieved no progress.
During an interview with Egyptian television station CBC, Abbas described the Egyptian Minister of Defence, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as “level-headed and wise,” saying that “he knows what he wants and the US has realised that what is happening is in Egypt’s best interests and not what the US wanted to happen.” He also reiterated that he will not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Al-Jazeera.net revealed a week ago that Abbas dedicated his most recent tour in Europe to warn Western countries against cutting aid to Egypt and asking them to support the military coup, while neglecting to mention the hundreds of Palestinians who recently drowned.
The Palestinian leader also claimed that Egypt’s elected President Mohammed Morsi promoted expanding Gaza at the expense of the Sinai despite the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of the project, stating: “I was frank with him and told him that we reject this proposal and that it was an Israeli plan that harms the national project”, and then quoted Morsi as saying “They are only a few million, we’ll put them in Shubra.”
Abbas explained that he considers President Morsi’s talk of establishing an Egyptian consulate in Gaza as damaging to the Palestinian cause, pointing out that “the most important player in the Arab world is Egypt, and if it falls, we all fall.”
He reiterated that Egypt plays a leading role in the Palestinian cause and that “we are defending our main issues by defending Egypt”. He also noted the changes in the American policy after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Egypt.
Reconciliation and negotiations
During the interview, Abbas fiercely attacked Hamas and made a number of accusations against the group, saying that “it is unacceptable for Hamas’s leaders to disregard their cause and country for the sake of the Brotherhood,” especially when “they are accusing me of selling Jerusalem.”
Abbas also accused Hamas of hindering the national reconciliation process and failing to respond to Egypt’s attempt to end the divisions, explaining that the tunnels are illegal and have made 1,800 members of Hamas rich millionaires, referring to his earlier calls to destroy the tunnels.
As for the negotiations with the Israelis, Abbas revealed that the negotiations that took place over the last few months have not made any progress in any of the issues being discussed under American sponsorship. He also pointed out that they achieved nothing but “uncovering details” without actual progress.
Abbas also said that Israel is refusing to resume the talks that began with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and instead wants to start from scratch, noting that the main issues addressed were about the borders and security, both of which Israel is greatly concerned with.
He explained that the Palestinian negotiators have now resigned, and that they will either need to form a new team or convince the existing team to change its mind within a week. He threatened to resort to a number of options in the event that the negotiations fail after nine months, including the option of referring the matter to the Security Council.
The issues of Arafat and Fatah
As for the issue of Arafat’s assassination, Abbas announced that the PA recently talked to Secretary of State Kerry about taking Arafat’s case to the Security Council for an international investigation to reveal the perpetrators of the crime, observing that “there are those who are exploiting the case… we have three committees and they are continuously working.”
He did not rule out the possibility of the assassination being carried out by those close to Arafat and acting on foreign orders, possibly from Israel, but said “I cannot say that Israel killed him until we have evidence and are certain…the judiciary will rule in this matter.”
Abbas also noted that Fatah is united and strong and has gone through hardships throughout its entire history, pointing out that the PA’s international situation is good, even though its economic conditions are difficult. However he added that “we have had promises of aid being sent soon, and we are now waiting for it.”