PA President Abbas with Hamas PM Haniyeh 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warning to the PA that it must choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas on Wednesday .
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Fatah Central Committee member Azam al-Ahmad said that Palestinian
unity "is the best weapon we have against the occupation," following an
announcement that Fatah and Hamas reached a reconciliation deal on
Abu Rudaineh said that Netanyahu must choose between a just and comprehensive peace with a unified Palestinian people and settlements.
Criticizing Israeli displeasure with the deal, Ahmad
said, "even before the details of the reconciliation deal were
officially [announced], Israel attacked the agreement."
Earlier, responding to news that rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas reached a reconciliation agreement in Cairo
, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the
Palestinian Authority must decide whether it wants peace with Hamas or
if it wants peace with Israel.
"The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both," Netanyahu said, repeating the sentiment he has expressed several times in recent months
The prime minister noted that the Hamas charter calls for the
destruction of Israel and that he cannot tolerate a situation like that
which exists in Gaza - with missiles, rockets and mortars fired into
Israeli territory - to enter the West Bank. "Hamas aspires to destroy Israel and fires rockets at our cities ... at our children," he said.
Netanyahu has given similar statements in recent weeks and months.
Meanwhile, Hamas said that "Israel is not concerned with Palestinian reconciliation and has been an impediment to it in the past," spokesman Taher al-Noono told journalists in Cairo.
Last month, speaking to the Knesset, he said, "How can you talk to us
about peace when you're talking about peace with Hamas. You can choose
[to make] peace with Israel or you can choose peace with Hamas."
Several days later, a senior official in Jerusalem said that Israel
would cut its ties with the Palestinian Authority if it brought Hamas
into its government.
“Abbas has to choose whether he wants peace with Israel, or peace with
Hamas,” the official said. “He can’t have both. If he chooses peace with
Hamas it will bury the peace process.”
Israel’s objection to Hamas inside the PA government would evaporate,
the official added, if the organization accepted the Quartet’s three
conditions for acceptance: forswearing violence, recognizing Israel, and
accepting previous Israel-Palestinian agreements.
Herb Keinon, Khaled Abu Toameh and Reuters contributed to this report