Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas insisted that there is no contradiction between continuing the peace process with Israel and Fatah reconciliation with Hamas, in a meeting with US Mideast envoy David Hale in Ramallah Wednesday.
Abbas told Hale that concluding the reconciliation deal with Hamas is a Palestinian national need, adding that peace with Israel is a strategic choice, official PLO news agency WAFA reported.
The PLO is committed to all its obligations from agreements signed with Israel, including the road map, Abbas added, calling on Israel to accept a two-state solution on the basis of 1967 lines, halt settlement activity and release Palestinian prisoners.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority has embraced terrorist organizations instead of peace.
Speaking at a special plenum meeting in honor of the Knesset’s 63rd birthday, Netanyahu said that the PA avoids acting to stop extremists, allowing them to incite against Israel in their government-run media and institutions.
“We said [the PA] needs to choose between the path of Hamas and the path of peace,” he said. “The Palestinians embraced terrorist organizations that call for Israel’s destruction.”
Although Israel has extremists, as well, the government has responded quickly in trying to stop their agenda, such as discrimination against women, Netanyahu added.
President Shimon Peres also spoke in the plenum, saying that “painful decisions” must be made, and that a new future must be outlined with a Jewish State with safe borders next to an independent, demilitarized Palestinian state.
Otherwise, he said, Israel will become a “borderless state of two peoples, which means an ongoing fight between two peoples."
Peres called for the renewal of peace talks, but added that the PA must choose between the path of “Hamas that aspires to terror” and the path of “Fatah that is ready for negotiations.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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