In the wake of this week's swearing in of an interim Palestinian unity government, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon condemned the Palestinian leadership on Thursday for presenting a "sweet talking" facade that is not truly inclined to making peace with Israel.
"The Palestinian leaders are insincere in their sweet talk, regarding their intention to come to an agreement with Israel," Ya'alon said at an event in Tel Aviv, marking 70 years since the Irgun revolt.
Ya'alon called for Israel to "stand firm" against the Fatah-Hamas unity government, which he referred to as "an entity which just this week made a pact with a ruthlessly murderous terror organization, that pledges to harm Jews wherever they are, and also acts brutally against Christian minorities" within Jewish populations.
The defense chief said the regular firing of projectile on southern Israel was a Palestinian mechanism used to "compartmentalize our [Israeli] lives and break our spirit."
Ya'alon said examples of the Palestinian Authority's "insincerity" in seeking peace were seen in the PA's refusal to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people; its continued support of incitement against Israel; and the Palestinian refusal to recognize that the signing of a peace deal with Israel would resolve the conflict between the two sides. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
called PA President Mahmoud Abbas's move to swear in the unity government on Monday "a Palestinian step against peace and in favor of terrorism."
Abbas has promised the US that the new government would recognize Israel and renounced violence, just as the former Palestinian Authority had when it was composed solely of members of his Fatah party.
But under the new arrangement, the Hamas organization can still reject Israel and be committed to its destruction, even as it serves in a government that accepts Israel.
On Monday, Israeli officials called on the US administration to push Abbas "to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel." Tovah Lazaroff and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.