Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday strongly denounced ongoing attempts by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to forge reconciliation with the Hamas terror organization.
Netanyahu's comments came on the heels of an announcement by Egyptian officials that Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had agreed to start immediately implementing a reconciliation agreement previously signed between the two rival parties.
In pursuing unity with Mashaal, Netanyahu stressed that Abbas is "embrace[ing] the head of a terrorist organization that declared only last month that Israel must be wiped off the map.
The prime minister added: "This is not how someone who wants peace behaves."
Netanyahu was referring to a speech made by Mashaal during his first-ever visit to Gaza in December, in which he reiterated Hamas’s refusal to “give up one inch of the land of Palestine.”
“Palestine from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, is our land and we will never give up one inch or any part of it," Mashaal said, before concluding that “Jihad and armed resistance are the right and real way to liberate Palestine and restore our rights.”
On Wednesday, Netanyahu vowed not to cede any territory to an entity formed between "[Abbas'] Fatah [party] and the terrorist[s] that wants to destroy Israel and fired rockets on our cities."
“We know that any territory we evacuate will be taken over by Hamas and Iran. We won’t let that happen."
"We see the dangers clearly," Netanyahu said. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) is in Cairo together with the head of Hamas. They are looking into a possible unity deal between Fatah and the terrorists who have been trying to annihilate the state of Israel, and who have fired rockets at our cities."
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.