The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refuted a report citing an alleged demand by PA President Mahmoud Abbas that members of the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group Hamas must recognize Israel if they want to be included in the cabinet of a unity government.
Haaretz had 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 U.S. 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.
Yet Yahya Sinwar, the political chief of Hamas in Gaza, said Oct. 19, “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 Dec. 1.