Senior Israeli government sources said Thursday morning that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would not meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas before Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank, slated for mid-August. According to Haaretz, Sharon told the American he would meet the Palestinian leader only after the pullout was completed.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan told Haaretz that Hamas is trying to carry out a military coup against the PA.
"When someone tries to take over a police station by means of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, that is an attempted military coup," he said in comments published on Thursday.
Dahlan also said that Sharon and Hamas have the same goal: destroying the PA. "For Sharon, Hamas is the easiest enemy. With Abu Mazen (Abbas) it's harder for him. That's why Sharon is weakening the PA and strengthening the logic of Hamas. He says that Abu Mazen is weak? It's his job to strengthen him. He has to do something serious to strengthen the peace camp in Palestinian society. Is the security situation better today than it was four months ago? And what have you done? Nothing."