Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) denounced on Saturday night the speech by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas before the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Central Council.
Danon particularly took issue with Abbas’s claim in the speech that a unity government with Hamas is not a terrorist government.
“Abbas is on his way to becoming a professor of terrorism,” said Danon, adding, “After denying the Holocaust in his doctoral thesis, he now claims that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.”
The PA Chairman, added Danon, “Seems to have forgotten that after the elections in Gaza, Hamas threw members of Fatah off the roofs of buildings. He forgot for that the Hamas’s stated goal is to destroy Israel, he forgot that the entire world defines Hamas as a terrorist organization.”
Abbas said in his speech Saturday that talks with Israel could only continue if Israel submits to a freeze on construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, releases jailed terrorists, and starts agreeing to borders for a Palestinian state.
The PA chairman declared that the new unity government, which will be formed as part of a unity pact signed with Hamas last week, would not continue peace talks. Rather, he stated that it was the responsibility of the PLO to negotiate.
"I recognize Israel and reject violence and terrorism, and recognize international commitments," Abbas claimed, even while re-declaring that he and his government would never recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Israel responded to the Fatah-Hamas pact by formally announcing that it was suspending talks with the PA.
Nevertheless, the United States denied on Friday that Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts had failed.
Rather, claimed State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the talks are in a “moment of transition” and Kerry’s team is adopting a "holding period" as the sides decide their next moves.