Abbas tells Hamas that he is ‘committed’ to holding elections

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  January 4, 2021

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has told Hamas that he is “committed” to holding elections. He provided the details in a letter to the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyah.

In a statement issued through the movement’s media advisor, Taher al-Nunu, Haniyeh said that the letter provides grounds for building a partnership, ending the Palestinian division and creating unity among the people and leadership through a fair and transparent democratic process.

“Abbas reiterated his commitment to achieving partnership and unity as a strategic goal, and called for national dialogue to accomplish this goal,” said the Hamas leader. “He will work on creating a positive environment to enforce all understandings and agreements, including the outcomes of the Palestinian factions’ secretaries-general conference held last September and the Istanbul understandings.”

The PA, Fatah and PLO leader has apparently committed himself to the “necessity” of holding elections for the Palestinian National Council, parliament and the presidency consecutively, within a period of six months at most.

According to Al-Nunu, “Haniyeh expressed confidence in the role of brotherly and friendly countries, particularly Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and Russia, which exert efforts to revive the reconciliation efforts and ensure that all agreements and understandings are implemented.” The Hamas leader gave instructions to resume dialogue through the approved channel spearheaded by his deputy, Saleh al-Arouri, to communicate with Fatah especially in order to enforce the national understandings and restore Palestinian unity. “Hamas is determined to achieve unity and end the Palestinian split.”

Moreover, Haniyeh used a televised speech on Sunday evening to point out that Hamas puts the Palestinian national interest first. He confirmed that the bilateral contacts with Fatah are not intended to exclude other Palestinian factions. Hamas, he noted, has direct communication channels with all factions.

“We have many difficult responsibilities at the domestic level and in resisting the Israeli occupation,” he explained. “Hamas has responded positively to all previous efforts to achieve unity, but we have recently reached some serious understandings in Istanbul, in the secretaries-general conference and in Cairo, where we had different views on whether the elections will be held consecutively or simultaneously” Hamas, added Haniyeh, wanted simultaneous elections to build up the Palestinian political system based on partnership at once, but agreed later to hold the three polls consecutively.”