BEIRUT

Middle East

Hamas talks show Abbas not seeking peace: Netanyahu

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a visit to the Ariel University Centre in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Dan Balilty/Pool

JERUSALEM,: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's latest reconciliation talks with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal are not the act of a man seeking peace with Israel.

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) gave an embrace to the head of a terror organisation who only a month ago stated that Israel should be wiped from the map," a statement from Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying.

"That is not the behaviour of somebody seeking peace."

Abbas and Meshaal met in Cairo late on Wednesday, and a Hamas official said on Thursday the two agreed to expedite a stalled reconciliation deal between the militant Islamic group ruling the Gaza Strip and Abbas's West Bank-based Fatah.

The meeting was the first in almost a year between the leaders and was aimed at ending years of bitter and sometimes deadly rivalry.

In Meshaal's first ever visit to Gaza last month he gave a speech pledging that his movement would not cede "an inch" of historic Palestine, prompting anger in Israel where Netanyahu and his right-wing allies will seek re-election in a snap general election on January 22.

 

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