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Netanyahu says Abbas prefers Hamas, not peace

(Xinhua)

08:58, February 13, 2012

JERUSALEM, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday harshly criticized the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of "turning his back on peace" after signing a reconciliation deal with Hamas.

Netanyahu's comments came after Abbas said earlier on Sunday, in front of representatives of the Arab League in Cairo, that he will give Netanyahu an ultimatum about the settlements and the 1967 borders.

Abbas warned that if Netanyahu refuses to comply and begin negotiations immediately, he will start seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian State.

"Instead of entering into negotiations that will lead to an end to the conflict, Abu Mazen (Abbas) prefers to join up with the Hamas terrorist organization, the same Hamas that is hugging Iran, " a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said on Sunday.

Last week, the PNA and Hamas signed a Qatar-brokered reconciliation agreement, after years of being divided, since Hamas ousted forces loyal to Fatah from the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The move was also criticized by Netanyahu last week, who lashed at the PNA saying that Palestinians need to choose between the " path of Hamas or the path of peace."

In line with Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres said last week that the PNA must choose between Hamas who "aspires to terror" and Fatah who "is ready for negotiations."

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