Palestinians condemn Abbas meeting with Israeli candidates – Arab-Israeli Conflict


Palestinians condemn Abbas meeting with Israeli candidates

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas greets former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s grandaughter, Democratic Union Knesset candidate Noa Rothman and her husband, Eldad Rothman (left) and MK Essawi Frej at his office in Ramallah.
(photo credit: DEMOCRATIC UNION)

Palestinian factions on Wednesday expressed outrage over the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud and Democratic Union candidates, particularly Noa Rothman, the granddaughter of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

In addition to Rothman, MK Esawi Frej attended the meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday. The two are members of the newly-formed Democratic Union.

Several Palestinian social media users also condemned the meeting and accused Abbas of acting against his own decision to halt all signed agreements with Israel.

A Facebook page called “Abbas Doesn’t Represent Me” drew hundreds of comments strongly condemning and ridiculing the PA president alongside a picture of him hugging Rothman.

Hamas denounced the meeting with the Israeli candidates as a “form of normalization” with Israel and said it reflected “disregard for the sacrifices of our people.”

Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou said in a statement that the meeting also “provoked the feelings of the families of martyrs, with whom Abbas did not even meet on the occasion of [the Muslim feast of] Eid al-Adha.”

He said that such “dubious meetings are a form of normalization and a poisoned dagger in the back of the Palestinian cause.”

The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms” the meeting between Abbas and the Israeli representatives and said it constitutes a continuation of the PLO’s policy of making free concessions.”

The PFLP said that the meeting represents the “destructive approach” of the Palestinian leadership, “which causes damage to our people and their principles, and is a blow to the sacrifices of the martyrs and prisoners.”

The group accused Abbas of acting in violation of Palestinian decisions opposing meetings promoting normalization with Israel. “This is a futile and failed policy that has proven to serve only the occupation and its criminal practices on the ground, especially in the occupied city of Jerusalem,” the PFLP added.

The group also pointed out that such meetings encourage Arabs and Muslims to continue “normalization encounters” with Israel and harm the efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate Israel.

The PFLP further noted that Tuesday’s meeting undermines the credibility of Abbas’s announcement regarding halting agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians.

Last month, Abbas announced that the Palestinian leadership has decided to form a special committee to study mechanisms of halting all signed agreements with Israel.

The PLO Executive Committee is scheduled to hold a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday to follow up on the announcement to halt the agreements with Israel, PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat said. The committee will also discuss Israel’s recent measures in Jerusalem, including house demolitions, as well as plans to build new housing units in West bank settlements, he said.

Another PLO group, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), also lashed out at Abbas for meeting with the Israeli representatives and said it cast doubt about his announcement to stop implementing agreements with Israel. “The meeting also puts the credibility of the Palestinian leadership at stake,” the DFLP said in a statement.

“We call for halting all meetings and agreements” with Israel, Talal Abu Tharifa, a senior DFLP official, said in an interview with the Erem News website.

The Gaza-based Islamic Jihad organization also denounced the meeting as a “blow to the Palestinian consensus.”

Walid al-Qatati, a senior Islamic Jihad official, told Erem News the meeting “confirms that the Palestinian leadership’s recent decision [to halt agreements with Israel] is just ink on paper and cannot be implemented on the ground. There can be no talk about halting agreements while normalization meetings are continuing between President Abbas and Israelis.”

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