Days after President Shimon Peres urged the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations in a historic speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now urging the EU to remove Hamas from the same list.
The Palestinian faction that Abbas heads, Fatah, has been at odds with rival Palestinian faction Hamas ever since Hamas routed Fatah from the Gaza Strip in a violent coup in 2007. But in an interview with Russian network RT on Friday, the Palestinian Authority president said that there was no difference between the policies of Fatah and Hamas.
"If Hamas is committed to the cease-fire and if it openly pledges to stick to the peaceful popular resistance, I don't see much difference between their policy and ours. In this case, there is no need to label them as a terrorist organization," Abbas said.
When the interviewer pointed out that unlike Hamas, Fatah was not firing rockets at Israel, Abbas said that "neither we nor Hamas did. Not any longer."
"After the Second Intifada, we decided to give up on armed resistance. And let me be totally frank with you: We don't want to launch any armed resistance whatsoever. Hamas has said the same. Yes, there were clashes in the past, but they have stopped — and I'm grateful to Allah for that."
Abbas also called on Israel to stop building in settlements on land the Palestinians envision as their future state, and to release Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
He hinted that if peace negotiations resume between Israel and the Palestinians and ultimately yield satisfactory results, he would abandon efforts to appeal to international courts against Israel. However, "If these negotiations fail to yield any results," Abbas said, "the Palestinian people will have the right to act as they see fit."
Click here for the full interview.