Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a delegation of former Israeli lawmakers that he would not appoint Hamas officials to a Palestinian unity government unless they recognize the state of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
The Israeli Cabinet issued a statement after the signing of the Palestinian unity agreement in Cairo which set down several preconditions for holding talks with the new Fatah-Hamas entity, including recognition of Israel and disarming of Hamas, both of which Hamas had categorically refused to do.
The Israeli group, who met with Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday, included former Labor party chairman Amram Mitzna, ex-Labor MK Colette Avital, former Minister of Internal Affairs Ophir Pines-Paz and several others.
“He said he would like a future unity government to be composed of various Palestinian factions including Hamas,” Avital said. “But he said that any minister in such a government, including those who belong to Hamas, would have to publicly recognize Israel.”
Mitzna, who has met Abbas before, said the PA president did “not appear optimistic.”
“[Abbas] said that he thinks Israel takes him and all the work the PA does for granted,” Mitzna said. “He said if there is no future for reaching a final settlement, he would hand over responsibility for the [Palestinian] territories to Israel.”