The movement warned late on Saturday that the move to dismantle the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and hold elections within six months would bring chaos and destroy the political system.
“Abbas’ decision to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council has neither constitutional nor legal values. It is an invalid political decision because it is issued by an illegal body,” Hamas’ statement read.
Abbas’ announcement is the latest in a series of bitter splits between his Fatah party and Hamas, which began in 2007, after Hamas won a 2006 election and took over Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian siege ever since.
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Hamas called on the Palestinian people and other political factions to stop Abbas, whose Fatah party holds administrative control of parts of the occupied West Bank.
The movement also called on Egypt – which has been mediating between the two sides in a bid to end the Palestinian division – to block Abbas’ efforts.
“We call on Egypt to block Abbas’ measures that are a fatal blow to the Egyptian endeavours aimed to achieve the Palestinian reconciliation,” the statement read.
Last month, delegations from Hamas and Fatah held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo on ending the Palestinian division.
The talks were one of the dozens of rounds – in Cairo and several Arab capitals – between Hamas and Fatah since the start of the Palestinian discord in 2007, but discussions have yet to bear fruit.
Elections within ‘six months’
The PLC, where Hamas holds a majority, has been largely disabled since the 2006 elections.
If done, breaking up the legislature would remain symbolic, maintaining the already entrenched political divide between the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
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“We resorted to the Constitutional Court and the court decided to dissolve the PLC and called for parliamentary elections in six months and we have to execute this [decision] immediately,” Abbas told a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) meeting in Ramallah on Saturday morning.
Abbas accused Hamas of blocking Egyptian efforts to restore Palestinian unity, a charge Hamas vehemently denies. He said the dissolution of parliament aims to pressure Hamas into accepting proposals for national reconciliation.
But Hamas blames Abbas, and said in its statement that he should have accepted an invitation extended by Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, who last week affirmed his willingness to meet and discuss the internal Palestinian divide.
The movement insists that the PLC expires automatically when a new one is formed following general elections, and expressed its readiness to go through a parliamentary or presidential election.
Al Jazeera and news agencies