Abbas reacts: PM must choose between peace, settlements

Netanyahu says PA must choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas; says Hamas aspires to destroy Israel, fires rockets at kids; Hamas says Israel has only been an impediment to reconciliation.

PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R) (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R)
(photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
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 .
Abu Rudaineh said that Netanyahu must choose between a just and comprehensive peace with a unified Palestinian people and settlements.
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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.