'Hamas Will Rise to Power in Judea and Samaria'
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) sharply criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday, at a Diplomatic Corps dinner hosted at the Presidential Residence for Israel's 66th Independence Day.
"Abbas's actions brought Hamas to power in Gaza and now it will rise to power in Judea and Samaria," Liberman warned, stressing that "no matter when elections are, Hamas will win and take control of the Palestinian Authority."
He added that "there are, especially in Europe, those who do not want to see the Palestinians not trying for peace. The time has come to remove the mask from the face of Mahmoud Abbas and show that he clearly rejects peace."
Hamas continues to be adamant over its control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a senior official and co-founder of Hamas, took issue with claims of a united military force last week, spewing sharp criticism over the issue to Reuters.
"Nobody will touch the security sections in Gaza. No one will be able to touch one person from the military group. Nobody asked for that," Zahar declared. He also claimed that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is "lying" about being in charge of a unity government and charged him with vying for the continuation of US aid.
Hamas and Fatah's reconciliation deal last month has raised security concerns in Israel and utterly torpedoed peace talks.
However, as Liberman may have alluded, the European Union (EU) has dismissed those concerns based on its conviction that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, not Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, would remain in charge of a unity government.
"The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement ... including Israel's legitimate right to exist," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton insisted last month.
"The fact that President Abbas will remain fully in charge of the negotiation process and have a mandate to negotiate in the name of all Palestinians provides further assurance that the peace negotiations can and must proceed."