Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas tried to soften the impact of his reconciliation with Hamas by insisting that the unrepentant terror group would “recognize Israel” upon joining his government. But, leave it to Hamas, the group is now setting the record straight, saying Abbas is dead wrong on that score.
In fact, Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu is threatening to sue The Washington Post for quoting him as being far more conciliatory toward Israel than he was. The Post had apparently cited Nunu as backing up Abbas’ statement that the unity deal between Hamas and his own Fatah movement included adherence to all past agreements and recognition of Israel.
“What I was quoted as telling the American paper is wrong, and I unequivocally deny it,” Nunu told Palestinian media. “The issue of Hamas recognizing Israel is a complete nonstarter.”
Israel has rejected the notion of negotiating peace with a government that includes Hamas, which has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the eventual destruction of the “Zionist entity.”
The deal reached by Abbas and Hamas is based on a 2011 reconciliation proposal put forward by Egypt. According to the outline, Abbas will form a government of technocrats within five weeks, while Hamas will officially join the PLO. Within six months, the Palestinians will have parliamentary and presidential elections. The last time such elections were held in 2006, Hamas scored a stunning victory, taking a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament.