Mahmoud Abbas calls for Arab military intervention against Hamas in Gaza

Mahmoud Abbas calls for Arab military intervention against Hamas in Gaza

Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the general who led the military coup against Egypt’s elected president in 2013, welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas to Sharm al-Sheikh, 27 March.

(Egyptian Presidency)

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas issued a thinly veiled call for an Arab military intervention to overthrow Hamas in Gaza, along the lines of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

But the kind of intervention Abbas may be setting the stage for would likely consist of ground troops rather than airstrikes.

Abbas made the suggestion at the Arab League summit hosted by the Egyptian military regime in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh on Saturday.

Abbas’ speech indicates that a similar call by his religious affairs advisor in a Friday sermon in Ramallah represented official PA policy, and not the views of a maverick. Hamas has condemned the PA leader’s statements.

“Security means”

Toward the middle of his hour-long address, Abbas warned of the “dangers of division which we must confront culturally, religiously and in addition to treating it through security means.”

He welcomed a suggestion by Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the head of the military junta that overthrew Egypt’s elected president in 2013, that Arab states form a “joint Arab force to protect Arab national security.”

Abbas suggested that the Arab League “troika” – its current, past and next chairs – put forward “an Arab vision to solve the wars, crises, discords and divisions” in several Arab states.

“The need is urgent to find practical and constructive solutions built on an Arab vision and based on legitimacy, that guarantee the territorial unity of every Arab country without any foreign intervention, and whose decisions are binding on all,” Abbas said.

In this context, Abbas’ use of “foreign” means “non-Arab.”

“In Yemen right now, there is an Arab intervention that is acceptable and advisable,” Abbas said.

“There are other cases, there are other countries suffering from division and discord. We suffer from division. We were the first to suffer from division,” Abbas said in reference to the split between his Fatah movement, which rules with Israeli support in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas which has governed the interior of the besieged Gaza Strip since 2007.

“We hope that there will be united Arab positions and an Arab vision and we are bound by anything that is decided by this summit,” Abbas said.


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