Hamas officials have accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of thwarting regional and international efforts to achieve a truce between the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups and Israel.

The officials said that the protests against Israel will continue until the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted.

On Friday, a senior Hamas official called for bringing Abbas to trial before a Palestinian court for “high treason.”

The appeal came amid reports that Egypt, under pressure from Abbas. has suspended its efforts to mediate a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel.

Ahmed Bahr, a Hamas official who also serves as deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Abbas was refusing to end the Hamas-Fatah dispute. Abbas, he added, was also continuing to insist that Hamas hand over its weapons to the Ramallah-based PA government.

Bahr made his remarks during the weekly Friday Hamas-sponsored protest along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which Palestinians call the “March of Return.”

He also accused Abbas of “collusion” with Israel in imposing a blockade and sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas official said that the Palestinian “resistance” will continue to “defend our people and rights.” He added: “The new equation [with Israel] is as follows: blood will be met with blood, shelling will be met with shelling and calm will be met with calm.”

Bahr said that all “conspiracies” to force Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to disarm were doomed to failure.

The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Saturday that Abbas has managed to foil Egyptian and United Nations efforts to achieve a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel. Abbas, according to the report, threatened to take “unprecedented measures” against the Gaza Strip if a truce agreement is reached between Hamas and Israel.

The Egyptians have bowed to Abbas’s threats and halted their efforts to achieve a truce in the Gaza Strip, the newspaper quoted unnamed informed sources as saying.

The PA, the report added, has also told Cyprus and the UN that any agreement concerning any part of the Palestinian territories should be reached through the PLO, the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians,” and not Hamas or any other Palestinian group.

Some reports had suggested that a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel would include the establishment of a seaport in Cyprus for shipping goods to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil also lashed out at Abbas and accused him of “thwarting” efforts to “lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

Referring to Abbas’s demand that the dispute between Hamas and Fatah should be resolved before any truce agreement, Bardawil said that hope of ending the rift between the two rival parties has ended. “Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are opposed to any effort to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas official charged. The Egyptians, he said, are aware that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah can’t be achieved according to Abbas’s conditions.

“Abbas has foiled the Egyptian efforts to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip,” he said. “Abbas is no longer authorized to represent the Palestinian people.”

Mohammed Nazzal, another senior Hamas official, said on Saturday that as long as Abbas in power, the chances of ending the Hamas-Fatah dispute are non existent.

In another sign of mounting tensions between the two parties, Fatah accused Hamas’s security forces of arresting several of its officials in the Gaza Strip in the past few days. A statement released by Fatah claimed that the clampdown was “consistent with Israeli and American pressure to impose” US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East.

The arrests are also aimed at “sabotaging” Egypt’s efforts to end the dispute between Hamas and Fatah, the statement said.

Fatah officials said that nearly 100 of their men in the Gaza Strip have been arrested or summoned for interrogation by Hamas in the past few days. Among those taken into custody are former senior officers in the PA security forces including Faraj Ajour, Khaled Hils, Walid Judeh, Hisham Abu Hani, Ziad al-Kurd, Shafik Abu Sa’deh, and Majed al-Gharbawi.

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