Speaking to a Holon audience over the weekend, Labor Party head MK Yitzhak Herzog said that Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas had personally promised that he would help Israeli forces find kidnapped Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Gilad Sha'ar (16).
“Abbas promised me that he would ensure that his forces cooperate in the search for the kidnapped children and work to reduce the threats by Hamas to Israeli citizens,” Herzog said. Already, he added, Abbas had given Israel a great deal of assistance, and he promised to continue for as long as necessary.
Abbas has made the declaration before, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, among others, has expressed skepticism at Abbas' ability or desire to help.
Several days after the teens were kidnapped, Abbas condemned the action, saying that the terrorists who kidnapped the three of trying to "destroy us," meaning the PA. He defended the cooperation between PA security forces and the IDF in the operation, saying "the kidnapped are human beings like us.
Responding to the remarks, the Prime Minister’s Office said that if Abbas was truly sincere about what he said, he would cancel the unity pact he signed with Hamas.
"Abbas’s words will be judged by the Palestinian efforts to bring the abducted boys home safely, and the real test is the cancellation of the agreement with Hamas," said the Prime Minister’s Office.
Hamas reiterated that as far as it was concerned, Abbas had no business cooperating with Israel on anything. “This cooperation is a stain and a terrible failure of the national movement,” a Hamas spokesperson said over the weekend. “They are defending the occupation and the settlers.”
Last week, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri released a statement criticizing Abbas. "President Abbas's statements on security coordination with Israel are unjustified, harmful to Palestinian reconciliation...and a psychological blow to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners suffering a slow death in the occupation's jails. These statements are based solely on the Israeli narrative, without presenting any true information," Zuhri claimed.