Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian leader Abbas did not demand that Hamas cease to seek Israel’s destruction, as a previous report had claimed.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refuted a report citing an alleged demand by PA head Mahmoud Abbas that members of the Hamas terror group must recognize Israel if they want to be included in the cabinet of a unity government.

Haaretz reported Monday that Abbas made the statement during a meeting with 12 former Israeli lawmakers at the PA headquarters in Ramallah.

In response to the report, Abbas’s office said, “The presidency denies the remarks attributed to the president by Haaretz.’”

Both the US and Israel stated in October that they would not negotiate with any Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas as long as the terror group refuses to recognize Israel, among other conditions.

Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a statement that the US “welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza.”

It added that any Palestinian government must also accept previous agreements between the parties and “any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, [and] recognition of the state of Israel.”

Yet Yahya Sinwar, the political chief of Hamas in Gaza, said in response that “gone is the time in which Hamas discussed recognition of Israel. The discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel.”

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party recently signed a reconciliation agreement that would end PA sanctions on Gaza and restore a PA-controlled government in the coastal territory by December 1.

Israel announced that it will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with the PA after it signed a reconciliation deal with the Hamas terror group.

By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff

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Source: United with Israel