Netanyahu said that Abbas “chose Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace.” Indeed. But this is nothing new. Mahmoud Abbas said on March 15, 2013: “As far as I am concerned, there is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas.”
And what are those Hamas policies?
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” — Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, as quoted in the Hamas Charter
“Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” — Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV
“Hamas, Abbas’s PLO announce reconciliation agreement,” by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters, April 23:
GAZA (Reuters) – The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact, both sides announced in a joint news conference.
The move, coming after a long line of failed efforts to reconcile after seven years of internal bickering, envisions a unity government within five weeks and national elections six months later.
“This is the good news we tell our people: the era of division is over,” Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said to loud applause at a Palestinian press conference also attended by representatives of the PLO.
Israel said after the announcement that Abbas had chosen Hamas over peace, and canceled a session of U.S.-brokered talks with the Palestinians that had been scheduled for Wednesday night in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office that Abbas “chose Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace.”
Along with the United States and the European Union, Israel views Hamas as a terrorist organization, and says Abbas’ efforts to unify with the group show he is not serious about extending the troubled negotiations.
The talks, aimed at ending its decades-old conflict with the Palestinians and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, are scheduled to end on April 29.
Palestinians have long hoped for a healing of the political rift between the PLO and militant Hamas, which won a Palestinian election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Western-backed Abbas in 2007.
But reconciliation dreams have been dashed repeatedly in the past. Since 2011, Hamas and Fatah have failed to implement an Egyptian-brokered unity deal because of disputes over power-sharing and the handling of the conflict with Israel.
Hamas has battled Israel, which it refuses to recognize, while Abbas’s Fatah party has remained in control of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and pursued years of fruitless talks with Israel.
Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki told reporters in the West Bank the unity deal did not interfere with Abbas’s efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel.
“There is also an understanding with Hamas that the president has the mandate to negotiate with Israel on behalf of all the Palestinian people,” al-Malki said.
“When the president reaches an agreement with Israel…(there will be) a referendum where the Palestinian people will decide whether they support such an agreement or not,” he said….