Abbas says any Hamas ministers will have to recognize Israel
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Abbas says any Hamas ministers will have to recognize Israel

PA president talks Palestinian unity with former Israeli lawmakers, says he won't wait forever for Netanyahu to come around

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas speaks to the press after meeting with Jordan's King at the Royal Palace in Amman on October 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas speaks to the press after meeting with Jordan's King at the Royal Palace in Amman on October 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he will not appoint to the Palestinian unity government any Hamas officials who don’t publicly recognize Israel.

Abbas told a delegation of former Israeli lawmakers visiting his party’s Ramallah headquarters that “the Americans have assured him they will announce their support for a two-state solution soon,” Haaretz reported.

He also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of preventing the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“Netanyahu doesn’t want to renew the peace process, he thinks I’m going to stay here and guard the occupation,” Abbas told members of the delegation.

The group included former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna, former ministers Ophir Pines-Paz and Raleb Majadele, and former MKs Colette Avital and Taleb el-Sana.

Under a reconciliation agreement reached earlier this month between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party, the PA government is to reassume civilian control of Gaza by December 1.

In the wake of the agreement, Israel’s top-level security cabinet said the government would not hold peace talks with the PA unless Hamas renounced terrorism and recognizes the Jewish state.

White House Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt echoed the demand, saying that any Palestinian government must adhere to certain “basic requirements,” namely renouncing violence and recognizing Israel.

The Abbas-led Palestine Liberation Organization has recognized Israel, but Hamas has not. The Gaza-based terrorist organization has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, and openly calls for its destruction.

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