Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli politicians in Ramallah on Wednesday he would only publicly condemn the Monday night terrorist killing of Israeli Baruch Mizrahi when a full investigation of the incident was completed.
He also said that the PA would continue to negotiate with Israel until the end of this month, but that all agreements with Israel would be null and void if no deal was reached to continue the talks beyond that date, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported.
A delegation of parliamentarians from left-wing parties met with Abbas two days after Mizrahi was killed and his wife Hadas and son injured when one or more Palestinian terrorists fired on their cars near the West Bank city of Hebron as they headed to a Passover seder at the home of Hadas’s parents.
MKs Hilik Bar, Nahman Shai, and Michal Biran from the Labor party, together with Meretz faction MKs Nitzan Horowitz and Tamar Zandberg, met with Abbas at his office in Ramallah’s Muqata’a compound.
Abbas condemned the Monday night attack, the Israeli Nana10 website reported, but said he would make a public declaration only after the incident had been fully probed.
Following the meeting Horowitz said he considered the PA chief a partner for peace. “Abbas is completely committed to serious negotiations about all the issues,” Horowitz said. “It is of a primary interest for Israel to take advantage of this and reach an agreement.”
Horowitz added that Abbas is interested in negotiating on the central issues of a permanent accord, such as the borders of a future Palestinian state, and not just holding peace talks for the sake of talking.
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) condemned the MKs for meeting Abbas so soon after a terror attack.
“It is a pity that as the victim of the terror attack is being buried in Jerusalem, MKs from Labor and Meretz decided to once again go groveling to Abbas in Ramallah, Akunis said. “This repeating cycle where opposition MKs make pilgrimages to the man who is solely responsible for the failure of direct negotiations is embarrassing.”
Bar said on Channel 2 that the meeting had been coordinated with Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), and that she had given it her support.
Meanwhile a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams, initially scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed to Thursday. US special envoy Martin Indyk reportedly intends to broker the talks, as he has a series of such meetings in recent days, aiming to agree on terms for extending negotiations beyond the current April 29 deadline.
An Israeli official said Wednesday Monday’s terror attack “was the direct result of ongoing incitement and glorification of terrorism that we see in the official Palestinian media and education system.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday had slammed the PA for not condemning the attack and for fostering the atmosphere of anti-Israel incitement that caused it.
Earlier Wednesday a Palestinian Authority minister issued a statement decrying the deadly attack.
“[Regarding] this Israeli who was killed, it is painful,” Mahmoud al-Habash, the Palestinian minister of religious affairs, told reporters in Ramallah. “We condemn the death of every human being. The principle of killing and violence is completely unacceptable.”