Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Hamas leader Khaled
Mashaal’s statement that his group would never recognize Israel, the Turkish
daily Hurriyet reported on Thursday.
“I don’t agree with Khaled Mashaal’s
statement on the non-recognition of Israel, because we, in fact, recognized it
in 1993,” Abbas told reporters in Ankara following a two-day visit to
“A four-article agreement between [Fatah and Hamas] stipulates a
And Mashaal approved of this agreement,” he added,
according to the report.
Shortly after Turkish media reported on Abbas’s
remarks, Tzipi Livni, the leader of the party bearing her name, spoke with Abbas
and said “it is important that the public will hear messages like this, and not
lose hope in an agreement.”
Abbas told Livni that in any discussion of
reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, he will demand that Hamas accept the
idea of a two-state solution and its achievement through negotiations and
without violence Livni’s spokesman said she continually emphasizes that the only
way to reach a diplomatic solution is through direct negotiations rather than
unilateral steps, such as the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN last
A government official reacted to Abbas’s statement by saying, “The
sad reality is that Hamas made its position abundantly clear last weekend when
their leaders stated unequivocally that under no circumstances would they ever
accept a Jewish state.” The official said if that Abbas forms a coalition with
Hamas it would “raise questions as to his commitment to peace and
reconciliation. “Ultimately, anyone who heard just a few days ago the words of
hate and extremism from Mashaal in Gaza could not maintain any illusions
whatsoever about their position, which is one of total opposition to peace and
reconciliation,” the official said.
Mashaal, in Gaza on Saturday,
reiterated his movement’s refusal to “give up one inch of the land of
Palestine.” He was speaking to hundreds of thousands of Hamas supporters during
a rally in Gaza City marking the 25th anniversary of the movement’s
Meanwhile, Israel’s US ambassador, Ron Prosor, sent a letter of
protest to Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council over
Mashaal’s words. Prosor called on the international community not to sit with
folded arms as Hamas and its leaders call for the destruction of Israel. He also
complained against Abbas for incitement against Israel in the PA’s schools,
mosques and media.
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Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.