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      Abbas Welcomes, Hamas Decries Israel’s Unity Gov't

      A spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas sees an opportunity for peace; Hamas: Mofaz 'believes in killing civilians'
      By Gabe Kahn
      First Publish: 5/8/2012, 8:19 PM

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      A spokesman for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's 94-seat supermajority was an opportunity for peace.

      Israel must "use the opportunity provided by the expansion of its coalition government to expedite a peace accord," Nabil Abu-Rudeineh said.

      "This requires an immediate halt to all settlement activity throughout the Palestinian Territories," he added. "The new coalition government needs to be a coalition of peace, and not a coalition for war."

      The statements came in the wake of Tuesday's bombshell press conference by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz announcing a unity deal bringing Kadima into the coalition.

      However, Hamas decried the new coalition saying it "is the most dangerous for the Palestinians," Israel Radio reported.

      The terror group's spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum said that Mofaz "believes in killing civilians, including women and children."

      Abbas' call is unlikely to alter Netanyahu's rejection of PA preconditions, which officials in Jerusalem say are a fait accompli to forestall talks that would require compromises leaders in Ramallah have not prepared their people to make.

      Abbas continues to demand Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as the future border for a PA state, release all Arab security prisoners from its jails, and halt construction in Judea and Samaria for a second time.

      Netanyahu, who did halt construction in the 'disputed territories' for 10-months to meet Abbas' demands, was rebuffed, given more preconditions for talks, and ultimately forced to face down a unilateral PA statehood bid in the United Nations.

      He has said he is willing to begin negotiations without preconditions from either side at either time. His stated policy is that the PA must have a contiguous state, but that Israel must retain the major settlement blocs and control of the Jordan Valley.

      Mofaz said two weeks ago that he would give the PA 100% of Judea and Samaria in a peace deal. It has been noted, however, that he also said he had no intention of entering a unity government with Netanyahu.

      It is likely Mofaz accepted Netanyahu's position, which is little different than the Kadima position under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, before signing the new coalition agreement.