PA Official: Iran Has No Business Interfering With Palestinian Cause

Speaking at an Eid el Fitr prayer, Mahmoud Habbash says Palestinians must reject any outside influence on path to achieve statehood.

Iran's interests run counter to Palestinian statehood, the Palestinians Ma'an news agency quoted a top Palestinian official as saying on Saturday, urging Palestinians to disregard outside interest and focus on the national cause.

Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad AP 10.9.2010

Palestinian Authority Minister Mahmoud Habbash made these remarks days after a Palestinian Authority spokesman lashed out at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for criticizing Palestinian negotiations with Israel, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in particular.

"The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said last week, referring to the Iranian president.

Ahmadinejad addressed a rally last week at Teheran University, where he dismissed the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying the fate of Palestine would be decided in Palestine and through resistance and not in Washington.

Responding to Ahmadinejad's comments, Habbash, speaking at an Eid el Fitr prayer on Friday, said that the PA was "committed to the Palestinian national principals," adding that Iran, on the other hand, was "against the Palestinian national project."

Iran, the PA minister said, was not "responsible for the Palestinian case," adding that Ahmadinejad "will not solve" the Palestinian national struggle and that the PA refused "the right of any other to intervene in the internal issues of Palestine."

Also addressing the long-standing feud between the West Bank-based PA and the Gaza-ruling Hamas, Habbash said Hamas leaders were "preachers of sedition," urging the Islamist militant group to take responsibility for the "coup in Gaza three years ago."

The PA minister was referring to the violent coup staged by Hamas in 2007, during which the Islamist group drove Fatah out of the territory and violently seized control.