Last updated: 10 January, 2013

Hamas talks show Abbas not seeking peace, says Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s latest reconciliation talks with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal are not the act of a man seeking peace with Israel.

“Abu Mazen (Abbas) gave an embrace to the head of a terror organisation who only a month ago stated that Israel should be wiped from the map,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying.

“That is not the behaviour of somebody seeking peace.”

Abbas and Meshaal met in Cairo late on Wednesday, and a Hamas official said on Thursday the two agreed to expedite a stalled reconciliation deal between the militant Islamic group ruling the Gaza Strip and Abbas’s West Bank-based Fatah.

The meeting was the first in almost a year between the leaders and was aimed at ending years of bitter and sometimes deadly rivalry.

In Meshaal’s first ever visit to Gaza last month he gave a speech pledging that his movement would not cede “an inch” of historic Palestine, prompting anger in Israel where Netanyahu and his right-wing allies will seek re-election in a snap general election on January 22.