President Abbas: Hamas “not representing Palestinian people”

In his first clear and stark denouncement of Hamas' military operation against Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the armed group's actions and policies “do not represent the Palestinian people", reports say.

“The policies and actions of Hamas do not represent the Palestinian people, and it is the policies, programs, and decisions of the Palestine Liberation Organization that represent the Palestinian people as their legitimate and sole representative,” Abbas said during a phone call with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday, the official Palestinian press agency WAFA reported.

Abbas called for an end to civilian casualties, the release of prisoners and a rejection of violence, according to WAFA.

During the call, Abbas also emphasized the urgent need for Israel to stop its aggression in Gaza and to immediately protect Gazan civilians by opening a humanitarian corridor for provisions of medical supplies, water, electricity, and fuel to the citizens of Gaza.

Abbas added displacing Palestinians from Gaza would represent “a second catastrophe for the Palestinian people.”

Israel is at war with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza and carried out devastating attacks in Israel earlier this month.

Abbas is the leader of the Palestinian Authority, a government body with limited self-rule in the West Bank. It was established in the 1993 Oslo Accords, a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that saw the PLO give up armed resistance against Israel in return for promises of an independent Palestinian state.

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