Palestinian Factions Decry Gantz-Abbas Meeting

Palestinian activists took to social media to voice their rejection of the meeting and condemn President Mahmoud Abbas as a “traitor” and “collaborator.”

Several Palestinian factions have condemned Tuesday night’s “disgraceful meeting” between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The meeting, which took place at Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha’ayin, surprised many Palestinians, especially because it came in wake of growing tensions and violence in the West Bank in recent weeks.
Palestinian activists took to social media to voice their rejection of the meeting and condemn Abbas as a “traitor” and “collaborator.”
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the PA General Authority for Civil Affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee who attended the meeting together with Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, on Wednesday pushed back against the criticism.
“The meeting is a challenge and the last chance before the explosion and finding ourselves at a dead end,” Sheikh wrote on Twitter. “It is a serious and bold attempt to [reach] a political path based on international legitimacy and an end to the escalation against Palestinians.”
In an apparent attempt to stave off the criticism, the PA continued its condemnations of Israel.
The PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement released hours after the Gantz-Abbas meeting that there is no peace partner on the Israeli side.
It held the Israeli government “fully and directly responsible for violations, crimes and the obstruction of the political horizon to reach political solutions to the conflict through direct negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides under international auspices.”

The ministry said that it “condemns in the strongest terms the occupation’s strengthening of settlements, theft of Palestinian land and the continuation of the brutal and unjust siege on our people in the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas leaders and spokesmen were among the first to attack Abbas for meeting with Gantz.
A cartoon published by Hamas-affiliated websites shortly after the meeting featured Abbas washing the feet of Gantz, who appears in military uniform, reference to his former job as IDF Chief of Staff.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions held an emergency meeting in the Gaza Strip and expressed their rejection and denunciation of Abbas’s meeting with Gantz.
The factions said that the meeting “targets West Bank rebels and their resistance and puts in place mechanisms to intensify security coordination” between the PA security forces and the IDF.
The factions described the meeting as a “provocation” to the Palestinian people “who are subjected daily to an unjust siege on the Gaza Strip and an aggressive escalation targeting their land, national rights and sanctities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.”
In a separate statement, Hamas condemned the meeting as a “stab to the intifada (uprising)” in the West Bank.
The meeting, Hamas said, “coincided with settler attacks on our people in the West Bank and is a deviation from the national spirit of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas warned that the meeting would deepen divisions among the Palestinians, “complicate the situation in the Palestinian arena and encourage some parties in the region that want to normalize their relations with the occupation.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, said that the PA was seeking “to rid itself of its crises and failure at the expense of our people and their rights and national cause.”
PIJ accused Abbas and his aides of failing to “heed the national calls to form a unified leadership to confront settlements, terrorism and Judaization.”
Despite the meeting, the Palestinians will continue the “resistance” against Israel, the group said.
Some Palestinians expressed astonishment that the meeting took place on the eve of the celebrations marking the 57th anniversary of the launching of Fatah’s first terror attack on Israel.
The PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also denounced the Gantz-Abbas meeting, saying it undermines the credibility of “statements and threats” made by the PA president regarding the future of relations and agreements with Israel.
“Days before the celebration of the anniversary of the launching of the Palestinian revolution, President Abbas presented one of the most prominent political surprises in recent years when he went to visit the minister of war crimes Benny Gantz,” wrote Hassan Asfour, a former Palestinian negotiator with Israel and editor of the Amad news agency.
Asfour denounced Abbas’s visit to Gant’s home as “a political and national insult.”
Abbas’s visit to Gantz’s home, he added, shows that the PA leadership and Israel are worried about the “popular resistance” in the West Bank.
Abbas’s visit to Gantz’s home “legitimizes the enemy’s war crimes against the people of Palestine and the settlement enterprise in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” Asfour charged.

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