‘Illegitimate’ – Hamas, Islamic Jihad slam new PA appointments

The statement comes on the heels of escalating tensions between the terror groups and embattled PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent choices for a number of influential PLO positions, saying they would refuse to recognize the selections made by the embattled leader.

“[There is] no recognition of, and no legitimacy to, the appointments announced by the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) during its illegitimate meeting,” said Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in a rare joint statement, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Abbas’ picks “do not represent our people and constitute a breach of the national consensus and a suppression of the will of the Palestinian people,” the statement added.

The statement illustrates escalating tensions and an increasingly public power struggle between the terror groups, whose influence over Jerusalem and PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria is steadily growing, and octogenarian Abbas, who is wildly unpopular and faces widespread calls to resign.

During a session in Ramallah last week, Hussein al-Sheikh, Rouhi Fattouh, Mohammed Mustafa and Ramzi Khoury, all close associates of Abbas, were selected for key positions in the PLO Executive Committee and the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

Abbas’ critics said the decisions were a strategic move meant to solidify his position in the PA, as he can be protected by his loyalists from a potential ouster.

For many frustrated with Abbas’ failures during his nearly two decades in power, the installation of his associates in important roles also indicates that the PA will continue his policies even after he leaves office.

Hamas, PIJ, and the PFLP called for national elections, which were indefinitely suspended by Abbas after being slated to take place in May 2021.

Although Abbas blamed the delay on Israel’s refusal to allow the PA to set up voting booths in eastern Jerusalem, many of his critics said the decision was made out of fear that he would lose the elections.

There will be “no return to the Oslo track,” the statement from the terror groups said, emphasizing the importance of a “national unified command of the popular resistance” for organized attacks against Israel.