The Palestinian Authority's official news agency published comments on Sunday by President Mahmoud Abbas that criticized Hamas over its heinous attack on Israel but later removed reference to the terrorist group without providing an explanation.
The comments, published by WAFA on its website, came during a phone call between Abbas and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The two discussed Israel's bombardment of Gaza following Hamas' deadly rampage through Israeli cities. The original WAFA report on Abbas' call included the line: "The president also stressed that Hamas' policies and actions do not represent the Palestinian people, and the policies, programs and decisions of the (Palestine Liberation Organization) represent the Palestinian people as their sole legitimate representative."
Several hours later, the phrase was adjusted to read: "The president also stressed that the policies, programs, and decisions of the PLO represent the Palestinian people as their sole legitimate representative, and not the policies of any other organization."
It was not immediately clear why the reference to Hamas was removed. There was no immediate comment by Abbas' office or by WAFA. Hamas had no immediate comment.
The Abbas condemnation was published a few hours after he spoke with US President Joe Biden for the second time in 24 hours. A statement issued by the PA said that the US president acknowledged that the actions of Hamas do not represent the Palestinian people. Biden, according to the message, also said that he is working to ensure humanitarian aid to civilians from Gaza, adding that the goal is to prevent the fighting from expanding to other arenas.
After Abbas' previous conversation with Biden, the Palestinian Authority president published a statement which said that "peace and security in our region will be achieved through the implementation of the two-state solution, based on international legitimacy and the intention of the Palestinian side to act to achieve this goal, and the necessity of stopping all attacks and respecting international humanitarian law in what is happening in the Gaza Strip."
Abbas emphasized in that conversation "the necessity of allowing the opening of urgent humanitarian crossings in the Gaza Strip, the supply of basic materials and medical supplies, restoring the supply of water, electricity and fuel to the citizens there, and the complete rejection of the displacement of the residents of the Gaza Strip," and called for "a stop to the settler attacks against Palestinians in cities, villages and Palestinian camps in the West Bank, and to stop the extremist invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which are causing the escalation of the situation."
It was also reported that Abbas "rejected the methods associated with killing or abusing civilians on both sides, and called for the release of civilians, prisoners and detainees. He reiterated the rejection of violence, adherence to international legitimacy, peaceful popular resistance, and political action as a way to achieve the national goals of freedom and independence."
Since the outbreak of the war with Hamas' surprise attack on the Gaza Strip, Biden has expressed unqualified support for Israel and its right to defend itself. Among other things, Biden gave a speech offering unequivocal support for Israel, in which he strongly condemned the horrific massacres by Hamas. Biden's speech, which gave full support to Israel and even promised significant aid, evoked admiration in Israel and around the world. Biden also spoke for about an hour and a half with families of American citizens who are defined as missing, and those who were kidnapped and held by Hamas in Gaza.