Blair and Netanyahu
Blair and NetanyahuIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair Tuesday as he launched a diplomatic offensive against the Palestinian Authority’s maneuvers to circumvent talks with Israel, and to form a unity government with Hamas.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to fly to London and Paris Wednesday to clarify the dangers of the PA strategy of convincing the United Nations to unilaterally declare the Palestinaian Authority as a country based on the 1949 temporary Armistice Lines.

"How can peace be reached with a government in which half of it calls to destroy Israel and even praises mass-murderer Osama bin Laden?” Netanyahu stated. "I call on Abu Mazen (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) to cancel the agreement with Hamas immediately and to choose the way of peace with Israel."

PA leaders told Israel in effect to mind its own business, sayng the unity pact being signed in Egypt this week is a “domestic issue.” A PA spokesman said that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement represented an “unacceptable interference” in its internal affairs.

Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as “Jewish state” but officially has stated that Israel and the Palestinian Authority can exist side by side. However, official PA meetings recently have been accompanied by maps of Israel, with the word “Palestine” printed from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River and from the border with Leadon to Eilat.

The unity agreement was signed informally Tuesday, with a ceremonial agreement to be inked on Wednesday in the presence of Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. The two men have not meant since 2007, when Hamas’ terrorist militia in Gaza overpowered its rival Fatah faction forces, headed by Abbas, and took over control of the region,

The agreement has left the Quartet – the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, in diplomatic ambiguity. The Quartet previously has said Hamas cannot be accepted if it does not renounce violence and recognize Israel. British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated Britain would "judge everyone by their actions." 

Hamas continues to recognize what it calls the “Zionist entity” and has equated its terrorist attacks with “resistance.” The Obama administration also has not equivocally rejected the unity agreement between Abbas and de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton has not stated whether she will accept an invitation to attend the signing ceremony in Cairo.