Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority may be joining in the criticism of Israel's raid on a so-called "aid" flotilla to Gaza, but they it is equally unhappy about the international community's reaction, which is legitimizing Hamas rule of the coastal territory.
Hamas seized control of Gaza during a brutal coup against Abbas' regime in 2007. Hamas says the coup was necessary, since Abbas refused to accord the terror group the legislative powers that came with its overwhelming success in national elections a year earlier.
While condemning the Israeli blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza publicly, Abbas has quietly supported its continuation as a means of weakening Hamas influence and power. He even told US President Barack Obama when the two met in Washington last week that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza should not be lifted.
The international community has responded to the Israeli flotilla raid by demanding an immediate and complete end to the Israeli blockade, which Jerusalem insists is necessary to prevent the entry of weapons into the territory.
"We must prevent Hamas from benefiting from the [flotilla] incident," a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post. "We want to see the blockade on the Gaza Strip lifted. But at the same time we must be careful not to allow Hamas to reap the fruits and consolidate its control over the Gaza Strip."
The Palestinian Authority was particularly upset by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa's visit to Gaza this week, noting that it had further legitimized the terror group and its violent coup in the eyes of the Arab world.