With Thursday’s indictment of Hussam Hassan Kawasme as the Hamas mastermind of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June, government officials called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to do what he and senior PA officials said then that they would: rethink the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process.

One government official said shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of the abduction of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, Abbas made a statement that if Hamas was truly responsible, he would reconsider the unity government.

“Now that Hamas officials are even taking credit, the evidence is overwhelming,” he said. “Is Abbas going to follow through?” On June 19, Abbas was quoted in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam as saying at a conference in Saudi Arabia that Netanyahu used the abductions to “act violently against us, wreak havoc, especially in Hebron, and place the responsibility on us. We will investigate the issue and its perpetrators. The truth is that whoever carried this out wanted to destroy us, therefore we will speak to them differently and take a different approach toward them.”

Three days later he was quoted again in Al-Ayyam saying that Israel blamed Hamas for the kidnappings, even though there was no proof yet.

“When the facts are made clear, there will be a clear Palestinian position regarding this,” he said.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki was even more direct during an interview at the same time with Reuters, saying: “If Hamas was behind [the kidnappings], which no one can say right now, then this would be a blow to the reconciliation process. If we reach that conclusion, then the president [Abbas] will make drastic decisions.”

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