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MIDEAST > Abbas chides Mashaal for rejecting deal with Israel

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Palestinian President Abbas (L) meets with Turkish PM Erdoğan in Ankara. Abbas criticizes Hamas chief Mashaal for rejecting a possible deal with Israel.

Palestinian President Abbas (L) meets with Turkish PM Erdoğan in Ankara. Abbas criticizes Hamas chief Mashaal for rejecting a possible deal with Israel.

Serkan Demirtaş Serkan Demirtaş serkan.demirtas@hdn.com.tr

Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has hit out at Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s statement that his group will “never recognize the state of Israel” amid continuing efforts to finally the two main Palestinian groups.

“I don’t agree with Khaled Mashaal’s statement on the non-recognition of Israel because we, in fact, recognized it in 1993,” Abbas told a group of reporters in Ankara following his two-day visit. “A four-article agreement between [Fatah and Hamas] stipulates a two-state vision. And Mashaal approved of this agreement.”

During his landmark visit to Gaza, Mashaal said, “We will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.” At a moment when Hamas and Fatah are trying to narrow their differences and establish a united government that would hold elections in the entirety of Palestine, disagreement on the recognition of Israel seems to be an important issue between the two sides.

Abbas and Mashaal held a half-hour phone conversation yesterday morning discussing both sides’ objectives to create unification under Egyptian mediation. Abbas announced earlier that talks with Mashaal would resume in two weeks’ time in Cairo with a common commitment to accomplish the process as soon as possible.

Recalling that 138 countries voted for Palestine’s non-member observer state status at the United Nations, Abbas said it was now their duty to unite immediately and focus on their final goal. “Our first step in this regard is to reach reconciliation. We have taken these steps with Hamas and Egypt,” he said.

Noting that they had also agreed to receive more Turkish assistance in the diplomatic and legal arena as they prepare to apply for membership in 16 international institutions and 31 international protocols, Abbas said Turkey’s permanent representative at the U.N. would be in constant consultation with his Palestinian counterpart. Furthermore, Turkey will afterward provide expertise in their legal actions.

E1 is the ‘red line’
However, Palestine’s road to recognition as a full state is not free of obstacles. For the president, they have two important challenges. The first is the Israeli government’s continued settlement policies, which are now targeted at dividing the West Bank through what the Israeli government calls the “E1 settlement plan.”

“This E1 plan is a very dangerous one. It’s aiming at splitting the West Bank into two parts. If Israel begins the construction, we will not be patient. Then we will use every peaceful and diplomatic means to stop this settlement,” Abbas said, without directly stating whether those means included filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court.

“Our status has changed after the vote and this gives us additional opportunities, but I will not name them now,” he said, hinting that they could consider an application to the ICC.

A second problem is Israel’s decision to seize the tax revenues of Palestine as a reaction to the U.N. vote. Abbas said they knew Israel and the United States could try to block Palestine’s financial channels and that the Arab League promised to provide $100 million to Palestine on a monthly basis.

December/13/2012

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Ken Alden

12/13/2012 7:17:48 PM

@Turk down Under, As usual, you miss the point, the term "friendship" was used in irony ! It is an open secret, that there is no love lost between the two of them.Your problem is that you are Israel-centric and consummed by dislike of the country, you claim to be of! So please wake-up and smell the coffee or the "Shrimps on the "Barbie" as they would say Down Under!

Murat

12/13/2012 7:12:21 PM

"As long as Hamas believes that the only solution of its conflict with Israel is military, there will never be peace." Is that not what Israel also belives in? On top, they have inch by inch taken away WB. You think that is way to peace? Waht did a peaceful Abbas get in return for silencing guns? World is not fooled.

mara mcglothin

12/13/2012 5:12:07 PM

Ditto! TURK DOWN UNDER

american american

12/13/2012 3:20:44 PM

this just in! erdogan slams abbas

Turk down under

12/13/2012 11:50:05 AM

Don't let the Sultan get involved!!! You know what happens when he starts mediating! All credit to Abbas for denoting Mashaal's statement. KEN- Friendship is a non starter really if one side recognizes Israels right to exist and the other wants to obliterate it. Abbas has had a lot of support in UN vote. He can't be seen to be agreeing with a terrorist's violent calls.

Ashley Meyer

12/13/2012 11:26:02 AM

So this is the problem-even if there is recognition of Israel now, who's to say what angle will be taken in the future.Peace between Egypt & Israel for example has started to be questioned by the Egyptians even though there is a treaty signed.So if Abbas & even Mashaal say we accept the Jewish state, that can all change 5 years down the line.And what about lovely Iran fanning the flames?The solution here is not between Israel & Abbas-it is a much wider issue.

Quentin Poulsen

12/13/2012 11:19:30 AM

Shouldn't the arguments really be about Israel's refusal to recognise Palestine? Israel's attempts to wipe that land off the map? And the native people's right to exist, and to defend themselves? The hypocrisy here is astounding. Abbas is an American puppet. Israel, with American backing, severely punished Palestinians for voting the other way. Just a couple of months ago Israel killed and injured hundreds of Palestinian civilians with high-tech American weaponry...

Rimon Tree

12/13/2012 9:07:19 AM

That took him a long time, who forced him? And still I miss the condemnation of sending missiles and rockets indiscriminately on civilians by Hamas. The Arabs PR is very good in featuring 6 Millions Israeli as Goliath confronting little David made of some hundred millions of Arabs. Really ridiculous!

Truth Teller

12/13/2012 7:47:26 AM

Geographically the saying " This E1 plan is a very dangerous one. It’s aiming at splitting the West Bank into two parts" is pure nonsense.

Erdogan Erdogan

12/13/2012 7:26:54 AM

So Israel will make peace with Abbas but then Mashal will say it is only with Abbas we have to continue to ataack Israel ... Hmas (Mashal)very good freinds of Erdogan....
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