Skip to main content

PA hypocrisy: Embrace Hamas or condemn Hamas based on political expediency

Itamar Marcus  |

The PA received much attention over the weekend for having condemned Hamas. However, it is important to recognize that the Fatah statement was not a condemnation or an attempt to distance itself from the atrocities of October 7 nor from Hamas terror in general. It was merely an issue of internal politics, reflected by criticism of a statement by Hamas attacking Mahmoud Abbas.


Regarding the October 7 atrocities, the PA and Fatah have emphasized that they are proud to have never condemned Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash explained:

“From the leadership, from President Mahmoud Abbas to the last of the people in the Palestinian leadership – has anyone heard from us one word against the Hamas Movement or against any Palestinian?”

[Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, Nov. 6, 2023] 

On the contrary, the PA and Fatah have consistently defended, justified, and glorified the October 7 massacre. Fatah Jenin branch member Abd Al-Rahman Abu Al-Rub gloated: 

“We say to our people and to the members of the Palestinian people: A morning of victory, and morning of joy, a morning of pride. We ask Allah to send a blessing to our heroic Martyrs in the Gaza StripWe [call] to all our brothers and to all our Palestinian people that they are compelled to take action and participate in this story of heroism.”

[Official PA TV, Oct. 8, 2023]

At the end of November, when everyone knew the details of the horrific rapes, torture, and slaughter, Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub described the October 7 massacre as heroic:

“What happened on October 7 was an earthquake, an unprecedented incident, and a war of defense full of epics and acts of heroism that the Palestinian people has been waging for 75 years.”

[Al-Anba, Kuwaiti news website, Nov. 26, 2023]

Fatah Secretary in Holland Zaid Tyam waxed ecstatic

“Our people in the Gaza Strip and our people in Palestine made our heads touch the clouds…We all bow in honor and appreciation to this lofty people.” 

[Official PA TV, Nov. 7, 2023]

The criticism of Hamas that was expressed by Fatah was for a specific reason. Hamas had criticized Mahmoud Abbas for appointing a close personal associate as the new prime minister, without discussing this with Hamas. In response, Fatah stressed that Abbas has the sole right to appoint a prime minister and went on to criticize Hamas for what it called the destruction of the Gaza Strip caused by Israel’s military response. This was clearly an issue of internal politics:

“The Palestinian National Liberation Movement ‘Fatah’ emphasized that the one who caused the re-occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel and caused the Nakba that our people are undergoing, especially in the Gaza Strip, is not eligible to dictate the national priorities…Did Hamas consult with the Palestinian leadership or with any patriotic Palestinian party when it decided to set out on the October 7 adventure, which led to a more severe and difficult Nakba than the 1948 Nakba? Did Hamas consult with the Palestinian leadership when it is currently negotiating with Israel and making concession after concession, with the only goal being receiving guarantees for the personal safety of its leaders, and also to attempt to again reach an agreement with [Israeli PM] Netanyahu to preserve its divisive role in the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank?”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 16, 2024]

Many in the international community may try to use such criticism of Hamas by the PA to lend it legitimacy. Israel is being pressured to have the PA serve as the governing body of Gaza to replace Hamas the “day after” the war. It is therefore essential to recognize that notwithstanding this condemnation, the PA has not condemned Hamas terrorism and has repeatedly invited Hamas to join the PLO and the next PA government. Just at the beginning of this month, the same PA daily wrote:

“There is no alternative to national unity [with Hamas] – not unity of arenas, and not another unity. Here the PLO is opening its gates wide to anyone who wants national unity, with its strategic meaning and goals, which are certainly the goals of Palestine... and of the liberation project, the project of the Palestinian state from Rafah to Jenin, whose capital is East Jerusalem.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 5, 2024]

Again, Abbas’ Religious Affairs Advisor Mahmoud Al-Habbash also said:

“Nationally speaking, not one of us is talking about excluding Hamas or others... Indeed, there is a disagreement between us and Hamas; that is true, but this disagreement does not reach the level of exclusion. We are not excluders, and Hamas is part of the Palestinian people and an important part, and an extensive part of the Palestinian people supports the Hamas Movement. We do not deny this.”

[PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, March 3, 2024]

While the international community may be tempted to think that the PA is suddenly a peace partner and rejects terror just because it criticized Hamas, the reality is that the PA/Fatah has repeatedly defended Hamas’ October 7 atrocities. Fatah and Hamas squabbling for political power does not erase the PA’s terror support.


RelatedView all ❯