'Abbas slams Mashaal for not recognizing Israel'

PA president stresses that Fatah-Hamas agreement stipulates two-state vision; Livni welcomes comments in phone call.

Turkey's Abdullah Gul and Abbas (photo credit: Reuters/Stringer)
Turkey's Abdullah Gul and Abbas
(photo credit: Reuters/Stringer)
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 Turkey.
“A four-article agreement between [Fatah and Hamas] stipulates a two-state vision.
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 month.
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 founding.
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.Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.