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Abbas is tool for ‘Deal of the Century,’ says ex-official

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes a speech during extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 December 2017 [Onur Çoban/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s President Mahmoud Abbas is one of the major tools for the deal of the century, the former Egyptian assistant foreign minister, Abdullah Al-Ashal, said today referring to the United States (US) administration’s peace deal that was recently announced.

Speaking in an interview with Shehab News Agency, Al-Ashal explained that “Abbas is required to strike the resistance movement [Hamas] in the Gaza Strip and to strangle the enclave’s residents.”

“He [Abbas] has been assigned to this role to achieve the deal of the century,” he added.

Addressing Hamas and cooperating with Israel, Al-Ashal noted, are “Abbas’ main tasks.” “He must pressure Hamas, sign the US deal and supervise its implementation.”

Targeting Iran and Hezbollah, the former official stressed, is part of Abbas’ integrated role to “liberate” Israel from Hamas’ pressures.

Read: Hamas and other factions condemn Abbas speech

On Abbas’ yesterday speech, during which he announced taking legal and economic measures against Gaza, Al-Ashal stressed that it proves that Hamas “is the main hurdle for achieving the deal of the century.”

Highlighting the fact that the US President Donald Trump is due to visit the Middle East in May, Al-Ashal stressed that the “the deal of the century must be finalised before Trump’s arrival to the region.”

Abbas decided yesterday to impose decided to take “national, legal and economic measures” against Gaza following assassination attempt against PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza last Tuesday, which he held Hamas responsible for. He also criticised the Trump’ plans in the Middle East and accused the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of being more of a settler than the settlers themselves and called him “a son of bitch” in the peace process.

Read: Palestine’s Abbas to punish officials criticising Arab leaders

“In my capacity as the president of the Palestinian people and I have tolerated much in order to regain unity and unite the homeland, I decided to take national, economic and legal measures against Hamas,” the Palestinian leader told the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s executive committee last Monday.

Almost all of the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) criticised his speech.

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