Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday leveled harsh criticism at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for signing a reconciliation agreement with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and agreeing to head a unity government in preparation for elections in the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu said Abbas had chosen to “abandon the path of peace” by implementing the deal with Hamas.
Monday’s deal, signed in the Qatari capital of Doha by Abbas and Mashaal, put an end to recent efforts by the international community to revive long-stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the terms of Palestinian statehood. Abbas appears to have concluded that he has a better chance of repairing relations with Hamas, shunned by the West as a terror group, then reaching an agreement with Netanyahu.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization that strives to destroy Israel, and that is supported by Iran,” Netanyahu said. “I have said many times in the past that the Palestinian Authority must choose between an alliance with Hamas and peace with Israel. Hamas and peace do not go together.”