Former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of deliberately strengthening Hamas in order to convince the Israeli public that there is no Palestinian partner for peace. Olmert's comments came after PA President Mahmoud Abbas made a rare if symbolic concession to Israel, saying he had no permanent claim on the town from which he left as a child during the War of Independence in 1948 in an interview with Channel 2.
"The government has taken steps to strengthen Hamas and to weaken the PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, an organizations which espouses non-violence and negotiations for peace," Olmert said. "This kind of policy towards the only possible peace partner between us and the Palestinians is irresponsible and harms the vital interests of the State of Israel. The interviews that Abbas gave in recent days are proof to the Israeli public that we have somebody to talk to in order to end this bloody conflict between our nations, which has lasted far too long."