Israel calls on Abbas to cancel Hamas deal

2011-05-03 14:58

Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to step away from a unity deal with the Islamist group Hamas a day before it was due to be signed.

“I call on Abu Mazen (Abbas) to cancel the agreement with Hamas immediately and to choose the way of peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement after meeting Middle East envoy Tony Blair.

Israel has said the surprise deal announced last week, which is meant to reconcile the rival Palestinian factions, will sabotage peace efforts.

Most recently, it has pointed to Hamas’s condemnation of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces as reason for concern.

“The agreement between Abu Mazen and Hamas deals a tough blow to the peace process. How can peace be reached with a government in which half of it calls to destroy Israel and even praises mass-murderer Osama bin Laden?” Netanyahu said.

Palestinian leaders have defended the unity agreement, which will be signed at a ceremony in Cairo tomorrow, saying reconciliation with Hamas reflects a deep-seated public desire to end internal differences.
 

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