Hamas warns against ‘normalization’ amid reports of Israel’s upped regional ties

Palestinian terror group blasts recent meetings of Palestinian, Israeli officials, praises global boycott efforts against Jewish state

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Hamas on Tuesday issued a warning to Palestinians and Arabs who continue to meet with Israelis, and praised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) for its anti-Israel activities.

“Normalization with the Zionist entity is an unforgivable crime,” the terror group said in a statement issued in the Gaza Strip. “It is also a desperate attempt to deceive the conscience of the people.”

The Hamas warning came in response to recent meetings between Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials. It was also believed to be linked to unconfirmed reports concerning secret meetings between Israelis and government officials in some Arab countries.

Last month, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met in his Ramallah office with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major-General Yoav Mordechai.

The meeting came days after the PA and Israeli ministers of economy met in Paris.

The warning also refers to various meetings between Palestinians and Israelis which are organized by different civil society groups in Israel and the West Bank.

Hamas said it was following the “accelerating forms of normalization in the region, on the official and non-official levels, by some bodies and personalities.”

The encounters “solidify the occupation and serve as a cover for its continued crimes against the Palestinian people,” Hamas charged.

Renewing its opposition to all forms of normalization with Israel “at this critical phase of our nation,” Hamas said that meetings with Israelis were being held “against the will of the people, and contravene their opposition to establishing relations with the occupation or accepting its presence in Palestine.”

Hamas renewed its appeal to Arabs and Muslims to “reject the Zionist entity and not to recognize its legitimacy and not to normalize relations with it.”

The Palestinian terror group hailed BDS, saying its goals and strategy have gained widespread support in the international arena.

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