Hamas spokesperson Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, denounced the Monday statements of President Mahmoud Abbas regarding the upcoming unity government, and described the statements as an “unnecessary media escalation”. In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center on Monday evening, Abu Zuhri said that the statements of Abbas are false, and are harmful to the efforts to ensure national unity.

Hamas is also accusing the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank of resuming political arrests and political prosecution of Hamas members and supporters.

On Monday evening, Abbas told the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), that he has the right to choose the head of the new interim government, and specifically named the current Prime Minister in the West Bank, Dr. Salaam Fayyad.

He also said that he was the right to form a government that represents his policies, adding that he will be responsible even for its failure or collapse.

However, Hamas said that all new governments must be presented and approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently dominated by the movement.

It also claimed that Abbas does not intend to end political arrests in the West Bank, and intends to act against the smuggling of arms.

In his interview, Abbas said he never ordered the arrest of persons who oppose his policies, or those who carry different ideologies.