PA autocrat Mahmoud Abbas claimed in a HAARETZ report that he won’t appoint any Hamas ministers to the new unity government unless they first publicly recognize the State of Israel.
By Elad Benari
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday claimed he would not appoint to the Palestinian unity government ministers from Hamas who will not openly and publicly recognize the State of Israel, Haaretz reports.
Abbas’s comments were made during a meeting he held in his headquarters in Ramallah with former Knesset members from the so-called “Parliament of Peace Forum”: former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna, former ministers Ophir Pines-Paz and Raleb Majadele, and former MKs Colette Avital and Taleb el-Sana.
During the meeting, Abbas shared with his guests his plans moving forward, following the reconciliation agreement signed between his Fatah movement and Hamas. Mitzna, who spoke to Haaretz, noted that Abbas “understands that it is in the Palestinian interest to ensure that his government has a clear pyramid of responsibility and authority and that there is one level of military and police system.”
Abbas also criticized the Israeli government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing them of preventing progress in the peace process.
“Abbas was very upset and said he understood that the Israeli government would not allow progress toward two states for two peoples,” the former MKs present at the meeting told Haaretz.
Abbas, they continued, “said that he is a partner for peace, but he is not sure that there is such a partner on the Israeli side, and added: ‘I may hand Netanyahu the keys soon.'”
The former MKs congratulated Abbas on the reconciliation agreement with Hamas and expressed hope that the move would help renew the negotiations.
“We told Abu Mazen that we see him as a partner for peace,” Pines-Paz told Haaretz. “The fact that for so many years he has opposed terrorism, supported peace and recognized Israel along the 1967 borders is not something unique. Palestinian reconciliation can create a situation in which he can speak both in the name of the West Bank and in the name of Gaza. This has been lacking in recent years and this is a positive development.”
Under the agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah earlier this month, the PA is to resume full control of Hamas-controlled Gaza by December 1.
The Israeli Cabinet has made clear that it would not negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government until Hamas recognizes Israel, disarms, and severs its ties with Iran.
Despite Abbas’s claims that Hamas ministers in his government would recognize Israel, the group has already sent a high-ranking delegation to Iran, where its deputy leader, sanctioned terrorist Salah Al-Aruri, declared that the group would never agree to sever its ties with Iran and give up the armed struggle against “the Zionist regime”.
Abbas himself has also been actively engaged in “doublespeak”. While he tells Israeli and western officials that he recognizes Israel and is seeking a peace agreement, he tells official PA media outlets in Arabic that he considers the entire State of Israel to be “occupied” territory.
In June, Abbas’s Fatah movement issued a statement in which it reiterated its commitment to continue the violent struggle against Israel as a means “to realize all Palestinian rights.”
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