Last updated: 23 November, 2012

Israel slams Abbas on Gaza support ahead of UN bid

Israel slammed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday for his support for Gaza following its confrontation with the Jewish state, while casting aspersions on the legitimacy of his upcoming UN statehood bid.

According to Hamas, Abbas telephoned Gaza’s Hamas premier Ismail Haniya on Thursday to congratulate him “on his victory and (offer) condolences for the martyrs.”

The conversation between the two rival Palestinian leaders came after an Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel ended on Wednesday eight days of fighting in and around Gaza, in which 166 Palestinians and six Israelis died.

An official who attends Israeli cabinet meetings said “it’s not worthy that president Abbas did not once condemn the deadly rocket fire from Gaza on Israel’s innocent civil population.”

“He didn’t even condemn it after three Israeli civilians were killed in Kiryat Malachi,” a southern Israeli town where a rocket hit a residential building.

“Instead he chooses to praise the Hamas leadership for their crimes.”

The official also took Abbas to task over his upcoming bid for observer status at the United Nations.

“It is also strange how he’s going now to the United Nations to ask for statehood when he only has authority over half the Palestinian people,” he said of Abbas, who rules over the West Bank.

Israel is frustrated and concerned over Abbas’s intention to put the Palestinian bid to the UN General Assembly on November 29, which is expected to pass with ease despite vigorous opposition from the United States.

With direct peace talks on hold for more than two years, the Palestinians are seeking to push for their long-promised state by upgrading their status from an observer entity to that of a non-member state.

Israel says the bid is a breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords, intended to pave the way for a full resolution of the conflict creating in the interim the Palestinian Authority, which was to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza until a final deal.

Israel is contemplating retaliating with punitive actions ranging from suspending the transfer of tax and tariff funds it collects for the Palestinians to “toppling” Abbas’s regime, as a foreign ministry policy paper proposed last week.