There have been angry demonstrations in the streets of Gaza City after Mahmoud Abbas’ strongly-worded rejection of Hamas. Thousands gathered in front of the Parliament building in response to a call from party leaders, their anger fuelled by Abbas’ claims that Hamas are acting “outside the law”.
The Islamist group took control of Gaza last week after days of fighting, leading to an abrupt split in the Palestinian Authority. Addressing Fatah followers in his new West Bank stated earlier in the day, the Palestinian President’s message was clear: “There can be no dialogue with those terrorists, killers, those coup plotters.”
In an uncharacteristically fierce speech the president also accused Hamas of planning to assassinate him: “I know the people who planned it. I know their faces. They are members of Hamas,” he said.
Abbas, who enjoys international backing, sought to emphasise the legitimacy of his emergency government which he set up after sacking Hamas government members. The president has said a new ballot will be held as soon as “the situation on the ground allows it”.