Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal
for asserting that his group will never recognize Israel,
hinting that the statement hinders the chances of the two-state solution, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
“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 reporters in Ankara at the conclusion of a two-day visit. “A four-article agreement between (Fatah and Hamas) stipulates a two-state vision. And Mashaal approved of this agreement."
During his first-ever visit to Gaza, Mashaal said
last week that Hamas "will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take.”
Abbas with Turkey's Gul (Photo: AFP)
The issue appears to be a bone of contention between Hamas and Fatah as the two groups make efforts to establish a unity government. According to Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad, Abbas and Mashaal discussed their reconciliation in a phone conversation on Wednesday. The two are slated to resume talks in Cairo within two weeks.
Abbas traveled to Turkey to bolster the Palestinian Authority's ties with Ankara as he prepared to apply for membership in a variety of global institutions, according to the report in Hurriyet.
In his press conference, Abbas also addressed Israeli intentions to build thousands of new housing units in the E1 area of the West Bank,
a plan the Palestinians say would lop in half the region they want for a future state.
“This E1 plan is a very dangerous one," he said. "It’s aimed at splitting the West Bank into two parts.
"If Israel begins the construction, we will not be patient," Abbas threatened. "Then we will use every peaceful and diplomatic means to stop this settlement.
"Our status has changed after the vote and this gives us additional opportunities, but I will not name them now,” he said, alluding to the possibility he would turn to the International Criminal Court.
After meeting with Abbas on Tuesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul
criticized Israel's plans for settlement construction in the contested area, warning that "Israel is playing with fire."
Gul strongly condemned the plan, saying that "Israel has become a burden to its allies."