Israeli officials skeptical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech condemning the kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens, believe it was result of U.S. pressure.
Hamas accuses Abbas of treasonous ideology.
In a surprising address at a summit of the Islamic Conference Organization in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned last Thursday’s kidnapping of three Israeli teens near Hebron.
“The three [kidnapped] teens are human beings just like us and they need to be returned to their families,” Abbas said.
Abbas said Palestinian Authority security forces were searching for the teens.
“Those responsible for the kidnapping did it to destroy us,” Abbas said.
Abbas said that security cooperation with Israel is “a Palestinian national interest.”
In his speech, Abbas said he had spoken with American officials about the kidnapping. He said he was told that one of the kidnapped teens held U.S. citizenship, and that he had replied, “It does not matter if he is Israeli or American, he is a human being.”
Abbas also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of taking advantage of the situation to launch a military operation in Palestinian Authority territory.
The Prime Minister’s Office responded to Abbas’ statements with skepticism.
“Abbas’ words will be measured by the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to bring the kidnapped teens home safely. And the real test is calling off the unity deal with Hamas,” a PMO official said.
Israeli officials believe Abbas’ speech was the result of U.S. pressure.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief diplomatic negotiator, welcomed Abbas’ words, calling them “important, accurate and reflecting the true reality.”
Abbas’ speech drew the ire of Hamas, the terrorist group Israel says was responsible for the kidnapping. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said, “The declarations are a blow to the realization of intra-Palestinian reconciliation.”
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official in Gaza, said Abbas sounded just like an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson.
“Abbas and the heads of the Palestinian security forces are enslaved to the Israeli defense establishment,” he said.
Another Hamas official said, “Abbas betrays the interests of the Palestinian people — treason is part of his ideology.”
View original Israel Today publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=18247