[News] Mahmoud Abbas calls for Arab military intervention against Hamas in Gaza

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Mar 30 12:23:01 EDT 2015

  Mahmoud Abbas calls for Arab military intervention against Hamas in Gaza

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 08:55

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mahmoud-abbas> issued a thinly 
veiled call for an Arab military intervention to overthrow Hamas 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/hamas> in Gaza, along the lines of 
the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen 

But the kind of intervention Abbas may be setting the stage for would 
likely consist of ground troops rather than airstrikes.

Abbas made the suggestion at the Arab League summit hosted by the 
Egyptian military regime in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh on 

Abbas’ speech indicates that a similar call by his religious affairs 
advisor in a Friday sermon in Ramallah represented official PA policy, 
and not the views of a maverick. Hamas has condemned the PA leader’s 

    “Security means”

Toward the middle of his hour-long address 
<https://youtu.be/eJ_H1wgYmvY?t=23m31s>, Abbas warned of the “dangers of 
division which we must confront culturally, religiously and in addition 
to treating it through security means.”

He welcomed a suggestion by Abdulfattah al-Sisi 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/abdulfattah-al-sisi>, the head of 
the military junta that overthrew Egypt’s elected president in 2013, 
that Arab states form a “joint Arab force to protect Arab national 

Abbas suggested that the Arab League “troika” – its current, past and 
next chairs – put forward “an Arab vision to solve the wars, crises, 
discords and divisions” in several Arab states.

“The need is urgent to find practical and constructive solutions built 
on an Arab vision and based on legitimacy, that guarantee the 
territorial unity of every Arab country without any foreign 
intervention, and whose decisions are binding on all,” Abbas said.

In this context, Abbas’ use of “foreign” means “non-Arab.”

“In Yemen right now, there is an Arab intervention that is acceptable 
and advisable,” Abbas said.

“There are other cases, there are other countries suffering from 
division and discord. We suffer from division. We were the first to 
suffer from division,” Abbas said in reference to the split between his 
Fatah movement, which rules with Israeli support 
in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas which has governed the interior of 
the besieged Gaza Strip since 2007.

“We hope that there will be united Arab positions and an Arab vision and 
we are bound by anything that is decided by this summit,” Abbas said.

    Plausible scenario

The kind of scenario Abbas may have in mind would not likely include 
airstrikes. Israel would not permit foreign aircraft to operate over 
Gaza and as Israel’s experience shows, airstrikes cannot dislodge Hamas.

Arab states would also not want to be seen repeating the kinds of 
massacres Israel carries out in Gaza.

However, Egypt and Gaza share a border, which the Egyptian regime has 
kept tightly closed to Palestinian travelers. The Egyptian army has 
demolished the homes of thousands of Egyptian families 
along the border to further isolate Gaza.

This border could provide an entry point for the joint Arab military 
force agreed in principle by the summit 
to invade Gaza.

This would be done under the cover of the Arab League and with the 
pretext of helping Palestinians and restoring “legitimacy.”

But its effect would be to restore Abbas’ Israeli-backed rule 
to Gaza so that he could crack down on Palestinian resistance as he has 
done in the occupied West Bank.

    Hamas condemnation

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/sami-abu-zuhri> called Abbas’ 
comments “dangerous and unpatriotic 
<http://www.alhadathnews.net/archives/153081>” and urged Arab states to 
rebuke him for “attitudes that are consistent with the [Israeli] 
occupation’s desire to strike the Palestinian people.”

More than 100,000 people are still living without permanent shelter in 
Gaza after Israel’s devastating summer assault that left more than 2,200 
people dead and thousands more injured.

Hamas recently released recordings 
which it claims prove Abbas’ intelligence apparatus was helping Israel 
to gather information it used to plan the attack.

But in line with Hamas’ policy of working with Abbas despite his 
constant incitement against the movement, Abu Zuhri stopped short of 
calling for the removal of the PA leader whose legal term of office 
expired five years ago.

Hamas “confirms that Mahmoud Abbas lost his legal legitimacy and that 
his presence in the presidency is linked to the extent of his commitment 
to the Palestinian national consensus,” Abu Zuhri said. “He has no 
mandate to take any decisions or make any declarations that depart from 
the national consensus or national constants.”

In a twist of irony, Hamas has itself given its blessing 
<http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=236735> to the Saudi-led air raids on Yemen 
which, according 
to Amnesty International have killed dozens of civilians, among them a 
number of children.

Saudi Arabia <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/saudi-arabia> says the 
attacks are intended to drive back the Houthis, predominantly Shia 
rebels who advanced on Sanaa in recent weeks effectively deposing Abed 
Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the US- and Saudi-backed president.

    Whose coup?

On Friday, Mahmoud al-Habbash the PA’s chief Islamic judge and an 
advisor to Abbas, called on Arab states to “strike” Gaza 
following the example of the Saudi-led bombing raids on Yemen.

“What happened in Gaza was a coup, not a division, and it must be 
addressed with firmness,” added al-Habbash. “There can be no dialogue 
with coup-makers; they must be hit with an iron fist.”

Abbas and other officials of his Ramallah-based, Western-supported PA 
regularly accuse Hamas <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/hamas> of 
carrying out a “coup” when it took over the interior of the Gaza Strip 
in 2007.

This is a reversal of the well-documented reality 
that Hamas was acting against a coup attempt by forces loyal to Abbas, 
after Hamas won legislative elections the previous year.

The coup, which was supported at the highest levels of the US government 
<http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/gaza200804>, succeeded in the 
West Bank, where Abbas consolidated his Israeli-backed 

Meanwhile, the democratically elected Hamas-led government was isolated 
and besieged in Gaza.

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