Government officials on Monday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas for accepting an Iranian invitation to attend a conference of non-aligned
countries in Tehran at the end of next month.
“Abbas has to get off the
fence and decide whom he is with,” one official said. “He cannot on the one hand
say he believes in peace and reconciliation, and on the other hand embrace Hamas
and the Iranian leadership.”
The official said Abbas could not tell
Israel he was a partner for peace “if he is a partner with these extreme
Even in the Arab world, the official said, people are cautious
about going to Iran.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported
that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullah extended the
conference invitation at a meeting with Abbas in Amman. Abbas said he would
attend the summit, and sent his greetings to Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, the news agency reported.
One diplomatic official in
Jerusalem cautioned against reading too much into Abbas’s acceptance of the
“This is not a bilateral meeting,” the official said. “It is
a conference of the non-aligned bloc that will include countries with whom
Israel has good ties, such as India and Brazil.”
The official said that
the question should not be as much why Abbas is attending, but rather why the
Non- Aligned Movement is holding a meeting in Iran in the first
Last month, at a UN-sponsored anti-drug conference in Tehran,
Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi exploited the event to launch a
virulently anti-Semitic tirade.