Report: Abbas seeks unity with Hamas to oppose Trump’s peace deal

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly seeking to form a unity government with Hamas to counter Trump’s peace plan.

By: World Israel News Staff 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to form a new unity government that incorporates all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, an international Arabic-language newspaper based in London.

Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that unity would be the best remedy against purported attempts by the US, under the aegis of the Trump administration’s peace initiative, to drive a wedge between Hamas and the PA or separate the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian government based in Ramallah.

As Asharq Al-Awsat put it: “The move was aimed at hampering any attempts to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank under what is known as the US ‘deal of the century.'”

The purpose of the new unity government is also to prepare for general elections, which have not taken place since 2006.

Numerous attempts to form a unity government between Hamas and Fatah, the largest and most influential faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, have failed, not due to outside interference, but rather out of the failure of the two sides to reconcile their differences or to cede power.

In 2015, Abbas dissolved the last unity government after it had utterly failed to function.

Abbas has also accused Hamas of trying to assassinate PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Abbas is looking at the possibility of designating former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad chair of the new government.

The sources added that the president met with Fayyad a few days ago for two hours to discuss the matter. Fayyad agreed, provided he is given substantial powers.

According to the sources, Fayyad told Abbas that he would not be a part of the unity government unless he was given significant powers. Fayyad has served in the past as prime minister of the PA.

Hamas has voiced its opposition in the past to appointing Fayyad. In 2011, for instance, during one of the many attempts to create a unity government between Fatah and Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza rejected Fayyad with the claim that under his rule, the PA fell into debt.

Fayyad is seen as a reformer who succeeded in eradicating endemic corruption

Abbas’ meeting with Fayyad a few days ago ended a rupture of years.

Fayyad’s return needs the approval of both the Fatah central committee and Hamas. The sources said that neither would prevent Fayyad’s return as part of a comprehensive agreement.

Abbas hopes Fayyad will help in efforts to end the rift.

Asharq Al-Awsat asked those close to Fayyad about the possibility of his return as prime minister. A familiar source said it depended on a new vision of restoring national unity.

“Fayyad has a roadmap,” the source said.