Following are excerpts from a public address delivered by PA Minister for Religious Endowment Mahmoud Habbash, which aired on Palestinian Authority TV on January 25, 2013:The PLO is clearly worried that Hamas has already become the de facto leader of the Palestinian Arabs among some segments of the Muslim world.
Mahmoud Habbash: For decades, various regimes, forces, and leaders have tried to drive a wedge between the Palestinians, and to take over the Palestinian decision-making and the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestine people. They tried, but they were trampled underfoot, and they ended up in the garbage bin of history.
All those who play similar games today, using flashy slogans of humanity and solidarity... Any Arab or Islamic official – even if he is a brother or a friend – who goes to Gaza in a political capacity, thus deepening the Palestinian rift – we will point an accusing finger at him, and declare, unequivocally, that we are against him. Let nobody be angry at us for doing so, for the interests of our people are above all other interests, considerations, and ties. This issue is not open to negotiation or to discussion.
We are the people of the Gaza Strip. To anyone who wants to show solidarity with our people in Gaza, I say: There is only one gateway leading to the Palestinian people – the gateway of the PLO, of the state of Palestine, of its president, and of its government. Anyone who wants to take a different path can go to hell. He and the aid he brings can go to hell. We don't want it!
This speech does not project strength but fear.
The PA is becoming less relevant, and any "unity" deal would help Hamas in the West Bank far more than it helps Fatah in Gaza.