PA Unity FM Accuses Israel of Fabricating the Abduction
Hamas-Fatah unity government Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki accused Israel on Friday of not only conducting an "exaggerated" and "political" search for three teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last Thursday, but also of fabricating the abduction itself.
Malki criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking to AFP at a conference at the French Senate in Paris.
"He (Netanyahu) cannot keep blaming one side without showing evidence," he said. "When you go to court if you don't show evidence you lose your case," said Malki. "If Netanyahu has any evidence, he has to put it on the table."
Malki's comments echo those made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's spokesperson Farhan Haq on Tuesday, stating the UN has no "concrete" evidence that the kidnapping "actually" occurred.
The foreign minister then reversed himself, acknowledging that "three kids have disappeared," but went on to attack the IDF for cracking down on Hamas's terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, in which around 330 terrorists have been arrested and over 1,100 locations searched in a desperate attempt to find the teens.
"The Israeli army has taken 300 Palestinians...they have destroyed more than 150 Palestinian homes since last week," claimed Malki. "Their reaction went beyond logic and what infuriates me the most is the lack of reaction from the international community."
Malki claimed Israel is "dragging" on the search for "political purposes," adding "if it comes to be known that Hamas is behind it (the kidnapping), then of course the unity government will be at risk. We are not going to tolerate and accept the fact that Hamas uses and abuses this kind of reconciliation government just to blow the national interests of the Palestinian people."
While the kidnapping has raised some tensions between Hamas and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Abbas reversed his critical statements of the Hamas kidnapping and restated his support for the unity government.
A senior Fatah official, Jibril Rajoub, who is close to Abbas, justified the kidnapping on Thursday by saying "after 20 years of negotiations it's understood to us again that kidnappings are the only language that Israel understands. It's clear that that's the only path to free our prisoners from jail, whose numbers grow each day."
It is worth noting that Al-Malki was the "foreign minister" of the PA government, an office he held since 2007. In January he stated that "the Arab states will never recognize a Jewish state." His appointment as unity government foreign minister reportedly was at the behest of Abbas, and in spite of objections by Hamas and Fatah.