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.