At a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to not run for re-election in January. The threat, says Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, is meant to be a warning to America and Zionists. He said:
“We advise him to … face the Palestinian people and tell them frankly that the path of negotiations has failed. Halt negotiations with the occupation and take practical steps toward reconciliation.”
Hamas and Abbas have led rival governments in Gaza and the West Bank for the last two years, after Hamas’s bloody and violent seizure of the coastal area in 2007.
Abbas cites frustration with the lack of progress in peace negotiations with Israel as his main reason for stepping down.
The Head of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Thursday, that they rejected Abbas’ announcement; and the presidents of Egypt and Israel, the king of Jordan and Israel’s defense minister all called Abbas on Thursday, urging him to reconsider.
The Palestinian consensus is that West Bank settlements are ruining their dream of independence. Some 500,000 Israelis now live in Samaria and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim crucial for building their own independent state.
The Obama administration has not been able to pressure Israel to halt its construction in the “West Bank”. And if the U.S. cannot get Israel to budge on that, they will also fail in other negotiations involving the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.