Abbas threatens to resign if he fails to reach Hamas deal

He has also appealed to Israel and the international community not to push Hamas "into a corner" but give it time to moderate its long-held stance of refusing to recognise Israel and renounce violence before mounting any boycott.

Accepting that Hamas's position in power has to be "compatible with international polices", Mr Abbas praised the faction's "wise and rational" Prime Minister-designate, Ishmael Haniya, as "flexible and diplomatic."

Mr Abbas said, in an interview for ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme, that Hamas must go "very clearly" in the direction of renouncing violence and recognising Israel. He also suggested that the faction's tour of Arab states and Russia was likely to be influential. He added: "They will listen to many things that will make them think about their political position. I think they are now responsible and, in order to assume responsibilities, their policies have to be compatible with international policies."

But asked if he would resign if he cannot deliver what he wants in terms of the peace process, Mr Abbas said: "We could reach a point where I cannot perform my duty - then I will not continue sitting in this place. If I can do something I will continue, otherwise I won't."

Mr Abbas underpinned his threat by pointing out that, in 2003 he resigned as Prime Minister after making a similar threat when he failed to persuade the then president, Yasser Arafat, to reorganise control of the security services.

Mr Abbas implied, in his first international interview since the Palestinian elections, that the immediate priority was to secure agreement from Hamas to abide by all previous agreements - including the Oslo accords, which recognise Israel - and the "road map" for peace. Israel and the international community have declared this condition is additional to that of explicit recognition and the renunciation of violence.

The prospect that he might go if he fails to achieve progress - with both Hamas and the United States having urged him to stay in the post after the faction's election victory last month - probably remains his strongest card. At present, Israel has frozen its monthly $50m (£28.7m) remittance to the PA of the duties it collects on its behalf in response to the election victory. The US is also carrying out an urgent review of its funding of the PA.

Mr Abbas also indicated a possible compromise on a key dispute with Hamas over who will control the security services when Hamas assumes power. Pointing out that the police and preventive security forces fall under the Ministry of the Interior while the national security forces and presidential guard are run by the President, Mr Abbas said: "All these security forces have to work in harmony and in coordination."

Mr Abbas said that Hamas hadindicated that it will offer a long-term truce in return for an Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders. He compared the current negotiations with the diplomatic dance before the signing of the Oslo accord when the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), he said, went within less than a fortnight from being seen as a "terrorist organisation" to signing the Oslo accords in the White House.

Mr Abbas appeared to reinforce Israeli scepticism that Iran can either afford to fund the PA or to channel cash through the Israeli-monitored banking system. He said "two questions" were: "Can Iran respond to all the demands of the Palestinian people? And ... how will the money be channelled to the PA?"

The Jonathan Dimbleby programme will be broadcast tomorrow on ITV1 at 10.25am.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions