Lawmakers from Hamas on Sunday warned Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas against recognizing Israel as part of the ongoing peace process.
The lawmakers said that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would be a “death sentence” against the PA.
Ibrahim Dahbour, one of Hamas’s representative in the Palestinian Legislative Council, warned Abbas against giving up any of the "fundamental principles of the Palestinian people" in the negotiations with Israel, in particular with regards to the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
Speaking with the PA-based Quds Press news agency, Dahbour said that the very debate regarding Israel as a Jewish state has dangerous consequences. He added that if Israel achieves international recognition as a Jewish state, such a move will bring the Palestinian Arabs to a point of no return and will result in the elimination of the so-called “right of return”, the expulsion of “Palestinian citizens of Israel” and any other non-Jewish residents of Israel, and in the bringing of the world's Jews to Israel.
Samira Halaiqa, another Hamas parliamentarian, went even further and said that the “resistance” against Israel in order to thwart peace talks will continue.
Halaiqa said that neither the PLO’s recognition of Israel as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords nor a possible recognition of Israel by Abbas would result in the end of the “resistance”.
Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is one of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demands from the PA as part of an agreement. He has explained that the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel stands at the heart of the conflict.
The U.S., however, is reportedly pushing Abbas to recognize Israel as part of the framework agreement it is trying to promote. On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro declared that the PA will be obligated to recognize Israel as a Jewish state under the agreement.
A senior PLO official was quoted as saying on Thursday that despite Abbas’s earlier refusal to recognize Israel, he was now prepared to do so.
Sunday's remarks by Hamas lawmakers come days after Salah Bardawil, another member of Hamas's parliament in Gaza, attacked Abbas and called him a "coward" for considering accepting the American framework agreement.
"If the U.S. framework agreement is accepted, the Palestinian problem will lose all meaning," Bardawil he said. "The situation is very dangerous because of the denial of the right of return to their homes of six million Palestinian refugees."
"[The process] gives Palestine to the Occupation," he added.
Earlier in the process, Hamas also slammed Abbas personally for his involvement in talks, calling the PA Chairman "illegitimate" and claiming that he does not truly represent the Palestinian Arab people.